Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam publish “Responsible Tourism” guide
Bangkok, August 13, 2008 - The fast growing tourism
destinations of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have published a 148-page guide
book showing where and how to enjoy responsible tourism activities in the
front cover of the recently published Responsible Tourism guide.
Over 25 activities in each country have been profiled in “The Guide to
Responsible Tourism in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.” Each activity creates
income for local people, minimises potential negative tourism impacts,
involves members of the local communities in running the business, conserves
natural and cultural heritage, provides meaningful experiences for tourists,
helps people with physical disabilities, and builds respect between visitors
For example, the book makes it easier for tourists to trek responsibly with
hill tribes, buy handicrafts that keep traditions alive, eat in restaurants
that employ former street kids or people with disabilities, stay in
accommodation that respects its local community, and discover nature in some
of the most awe inspiring areas of Southeast Asia.
“The various recommended activities in the book show the best side of
tourism,” said Arjun Thapan, director general of the Asian Development
Bank’s Southeast Asia Department. The bank supported the publication through
its Mekong Tourism Development Project. “All the activities recommended in
the book help alleviate poverty,” he said, “but do so in a respectful and
sustainable way that both the host and the visitor can be proud of.” Thapan
said continued poverty alleviation measures through tourism are important
because millions of people in the sub-region still live on less than two US
dollars a day.
Project coordinator, Peter Semone, senior advisor at the Mekong Tourism
Office in Bangkok, said: “We designed the book to appeal to tourists who
want to pick up a copy and go - and for tour operators and travel agents who
would like to add responsible travel experiences to their Mekong sub-region
itineraries.” The colour guide book describes 82 tourism experiences from
the tourist’s perspective, and how that activity helps local people while
respecting local culture and the environment. The book contains full contact
and booking information for all the recommended activities, and also
contains profiles of the three countries, practical information for
travellers, and a list of useful resources and organisations involved with
heritage, conservation and responsible tourism.
The guide was written by Mekong sub-region experts Guy Marris, Nick Ray and
Bernie Rosenbloom, and edited by Ken Scott. Statistics from the Pacific Asia
Travel Association issued last month show that international tourism visitor
arrivals year-to-date are growing at a rate of over 13% into Cambodia, 8%
into Vietnam and 4% into Laos. Thapan said: “Our aim now is to channel that
growth more equitably towards sustainable and responsible tourism operators
that help us conserve culture and at the same time fight poverty.”
The 148-page Guide to Responsible Tourism in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam
costs US$15 (plus postage), and can be ordered through the Pacific Asia
Travel Association’s online publication catalogue at
or by email at [email protected] . Tel: (+66) 2658 2000 ext 121.
Ouch, that hurts! Things that cause students pain
How to balance education and fun
In Chiang Mai, the new school year is in full swing. The cliques that
students normally form have settled, and everyone sticks to their little
groups. The new students are learning how to get around and the old
students are trying new ways to cope with their classes - although, only
study helps with that! It seems that right now is a good time to offer
some advice to students - and also to ask parents to read this and
impress on their kids that it makes sense!
The rainy season is also in full swing. As in most places, more rain
means more accidents. This year we have been fortunate not to have
anyone seriously hurt in accidents. There was a motorcycle mishap at
Payap University International College, but the injury was more to pride
than the body. With that said, don’t get the idea that it could happen
to the other person. When you start to think that, it will probably
happen to you.
Crime in Thailand is something else you should not think you’re immune
to, as I pointed out in the last issue of the Payap University
International College newsletter, “The IC”, “be watchful over your
belongings”. There seems to be a group of criminals working all the
universities in Chiang Mai; laptops and bags are being taken from not
only Payap University, but Chiang Mai (CMU) and Rajabaht Universities as
well. It seems the best way to hang on to your belongings is to
eliminate the chance of someone taking them. This is easily accomplished
by not walking away from your things, not sleeping next to your bag -
one bag was lost this way - and buying a laptop lock for increased
Another problem that is common in Thailand is theft via motorcycle. At
least one of our students was a victim of this style of crime this
semester. In this particular instance, the student was riding her
bicycle to Carrefour with her bag in the bike’s front basket. Two young
Asian men on a motorcycle rode up beside her, snatched her bag and drove
away. This happens throughout Thailand - all students should be aware of
The final painstaking note is about self inflicted injuries. In this
case, I’m referring to distress that is brought about by letting certain
things interfere with your studies. Things like going out with your
buddies on a school night, watching TV instead of doing homework, not
doing homework and a plethora of other excuses that cause your grades to
Just this past week midterms happened at Payap University. There were
more than a few students stressing out over their lack of effort in
their grades. As the results were posted, it was clear that some
students were victims of their own lack of attention to their studies.
My solution for this is something I learned in my microeconomics class.
There are two things that you want, an education and your free time. So
you have to make a choice - which one will get more attention? If your
grades are falling, then you choose the free time option. If you’re
doing ok with your grades, you choose education.
The opportunity cost of doing one more than the other is reflected in
the outcome of your grades. If your grades are falling and you can’t
seem to get control of your free time, then you need to eliminate some
of your educational responsibilities so you can have more time for your
The way you do this is to eliminate a class or two until your grades
start to rise. If one class doesn’t do the trick, then eliminate two
classes. If that doesn’t work, eliminate more. Some students are taking
7 and 8 classes per semester - in my opinion, (unless they are born with
an educational gift giving them this ability), this is too many and
should be discouraged. Most of these students are only passing with a C
average. Some are failing their classes and having to repeat the entire
class the following year.
Now, if the quality of your education is not important to you, then
continue on with your madness and, when you finish and look back, try to
figure out what you have learned. Chances are, it won’t be much and you
will have wasted your time at the university. Statistically, chances are
you will never go to school again for the rest of your entire life.
Taking four or, at the most, five classes is the best choice for the
average student. Although it will cost you more in the long run in terms
of money and an extra year or two at school, you should be able to get
decent enough grades for you learn something and add value to your
education. Don’t let your education advisor, or your parents, force you
into taking more classes than you can handle.
It won’t take a potential employer long to figure out your education
work ethic is not something they need in their organization. Good luck
in getting a decent job. There are plenty of university grade students
flipping burgers, or selling noodles, right outside university gates
around the world. Being a student is difficult but it’s nothing compared
finding a job, paying your bills and taking care of a family.
You’re paying for these classes so don’t waste your money and time at a
university or you may regret it for the rest of your life.
Cultural Canvas Thailand launches its new Art Programme in Chiang Mai
Focus on confidence and marketable
skills through creativity
Armed with colours and crayons, a local organisation promotes community
through creativity. With the launch of its new Canvas Art Programme,
(CAP), the non-profit Cultural Canvas Thailand organisation is bringing
the joy of art to Chiang Mai groups and NGO’s. Through various creative
mediums, CAP utilises art as a tool for change, giving the participants
a voice which can be seen even when it is not always heard.
pictured concentrating on a CAP project specifically designed for their
By partnering with local humanitarian organisations that reach out to
various groups, including Burmese refugees and Hill Tribes, CAP is
offering relief through a creative lens.
Through an ongoing dialogue, the CAP team design creative workshops for
each organisation based on their participants’ needs. By providing an
inclusive and secure environment, the programme encourages confidence
through creation. The group utilises art and expression to help
participants release personal and societal stresses. Whilst most
workshops promote emotional literacy and personal development, CAP also
designs workshops that teach a marketable skill. “When asked by the
Chiang Mai Buddhakasetra Foundation, one of our partner organisations,
to create a workshop that was fun and practical, we designed a
wood-block printing project,” notes Emily Scott, Canvas Art Director.
“The girls loved the project, and can now sell their cards at the local
monthly tribal market.”
With several successful workshops under their belt, the CAP is now
working on a series of community exhibitions that will raise awareness
and funds for both their project and for partner organisations. The
group has a full project calendar for the months ahead, and is currently
seeking supplies and donations to help sustain the workshops. To get
involved with the Canvas Art Programme, please visit www.
culturalcanvas.com, or, better still, visit them in person at the Lunch
and Fashion Show to be held by the Rooftop Charity at the Shangri-La
Hotel on August 27, where CAP will have a booth. Tickets at 350 baht
including a buffet lunch are available from the reception desk at
Hillside 4 Condos on Huey Kaew Road.
Local artist short-listed
in international competition
Chakkrit Chimnok - focus on natural materials and culture
In a recent article, the Chiang Mai Mail featured a local Chiang Mai
artist, Chakkrit Chimnok, who had been chosen to go forward in the
Asia-Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize competition.
Chakkrit has since been short-listed as one of the 10 finalists. He was
kind enough to agree to a brief interview with the CM Mail, who
first congratulated him and asked him how he felt about being
short-listed. Chakkrit replied that he was delighted that he had been
able to successfully bring the culture of using banana leaves and the
beauty of the dried leaves themselves into focus for the general public.
What asked about the main inspiration for his work, Chakkrit explained
that, for his successful entry, he had been inspired by the way of life
and tradition of local people in the use of banana leaves. Our reporter
mentioned that Chiang Mai residents would very much like to view
his art pieces; Chakkrit listed three galleries, Japan Foundation Art
Space and Jim Thomson Art Space in Bangkok, and Meo Jai Dee Gallery in
Chiang Mai, and of course, his web space at
When asked what he had been working in since he finished his
short-listed piece in 2006, Chakkrit said that he had been exploring
interactive and performance art , dealing with natural materials, and
was planning to further develop his artwork by using natural materials
combined with local tradition and culture in different kinds of art
forms. When reminded that one of the awards to be given in the
competition was the “People’s Choice “award, and asked how the Mail’s
readers could help him to win this award, Chakkrit said that he would
pass on the following URL, http://www.nhb.
gov.sg/sam/signatureartprize/vote.html to various organizations, art
institutions, groups of people and individuals. The Mail invites its
readers to visit the site, and, if you like Chakkrit’s artwork, please
do vote for him!
MI and GMS-BF sign trade
Outdet Souvannavong, (seated left), and Dr
Suchat Katima, joint signatories
to the MoU, pictured with witnesses (l-r) Khamsouk Sundara, Dounghathai
Boonyapraputi Latsamy Keomany and Somphone Phasavath.
The Mekong Institute, (MI), will work with the Greater Mekong Sub-region
Business Forum, (GMS-BF), to create a training program for trade and
investment facilitation along the GMS Economic Corridors. The two
organizations will design the program to build capacity in regional
development, cooperation and integration, using their individual
strengths and expertise. It will incorporate policy dialogues,
strengthening business relationships, building a GMS-wide network, and
MI Director, Dr Suchat Katima, said: “This is a very exciting project.
The Economic Corridors provide enormous opportunities for communities
across the GMS. We are looking forward to working with GMS-BF, and hope
this will be the first of many joint programs.”
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on August 8 at the GMS-BF
headquarters in Vientiane by Dr Suchat and GMS-BF Secretary-General
Outdet Souvannavong. Dr Suchat was accompanied by Latsamy Keomany, the
Lao PDR representative on MI’s Steering Committee.