The Asian Eco-tourism Network (AEN) has opened offices in Bangkok to promote eco-tourism in Thailand.
AEN comprises a network of leading eco-tourism experts and stakeholders both from public and private sectors. They come from government agencies, academics, entrepreneurs and NGOs. AEN member economies comprise Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, South Korea, Mongolia, India, Laos, Pakistan, Bhutan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Thailand's Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), a public organisation, is a co-founder of AEN.
"DASTA believes that AEN will bring knowledge and experience in the field of eco-tourism development from other parts of Asia into the designated areas and vice-versa. It will be a channel for DASTA to present its own success toward international levels," said Nalikatibhag Sangsnit, director-general of the Thai agency.
A report conducted in 2012 showed that eco-tourism, nature, heritage, cultural and "soft adventure" tourism would grow rapidly over the next two decades. Global spending on eco-tourism is expected to increase at a higher rate than the tourism industry as a whole. Such tourism could grow to 25 per cent of the global travel market within six years and account for US$470 billion per year in revenues.
"Just forget the false image of eco-tourism that tourists stay cheaply and enjoy living in remote countryside," said Nalikatibhag Sangsnit, director-general of Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA). "Nowadays, eco-tourism is attracting high-end tourists and increasingly driving huge revenues in tourism industry. DASTA has been developing several eco-tourism products in our designated areas, for example low carbon tourism and gastronomy tourism, to meet this intensifying demand."