By Kanlaya Mathyakom, Founder at Pickaboo co., Ltd
While the application of Artificial Intelligent and the blockchain in travel business were amongst the sizzling hot topics at the recent Pacific Asia Travel Association June 2018 in Gueng Nueng Korea, I find that one of the most important messages, was from former UN secretary Baan Ki Moon’s “Build bridge not wall”. Throughout his speech, he kept reiterating the role of the travel industry to bring people together to create understanding and narrow down economical and social gap.
Rewind back in April this year, our team at Pickaboo has integrated a social responsibility element into our Thai New Year trip, where we asked our fan club to donate unused books to public library in Udon Thanee, in one month we collected 1,300+ books. As an experiment, we have added a visit and lunch hosting of Udon Thanee Girl Orphanage to the itinerary. One of the travellers’ feedback was that the highlight of the trip for her was the visit to the orphanage. We are delighted that this first initiative has been so well received, and even a surprise that it was rated as a highlight by our customer.
I recently visited a friend told me about his initiative at one of Thailand’s beaches. He said that he started recruiting people to collect rubbish on the beach, within an hour he has 30 people both Thai and foreigners, young and old helping him. By the end of an hour, the beach was free of garbage and everyone retired with a smile and memorable experience that is priceless.
In whatever magnitude, we are sure that this is the right direction for tourism, not just the big players but all in travel community should reach out and join together to preserve the destinations, environmentally, socially and economically. Some tourists are already well educated and they are already willing participants and activists. I strongly believe that destination marketers and tour operators could do better to take a more active role in educating tourists and wherever possible encourage the tourist to exercise good practice. On our part, there is no looking back, and we will keep our promise in creating genuine bespoke trips with commitment to support community and the locals.