Ecotourism Training Center Leads the Way in Community Restoration Projects

KOH LONE, PHUKET, THAILAND -- 30 November 2005: Ecotourism Training Center engages in yet another community project to foster responsible stewardship of the environment

On November 16, 2005, Denis Simonnet, owner of the Baan Mai Cottages and Restaurant, graciously hosted the students and staff of the Ecotourism Training Center for a two-nite stay and beach clean-up. "What is important to me as a hospitality sector proprietor on the Southern Thailand coast is that we collectively participate as a community in an effort to rebuild and maintain the area's beaches to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our customers. The ETC's parallel mission toward this end provided a perfect opportunity for this collaborative project."  stated Mr. Simonnet. The Baan Mai Cottages and Restaurant is a charming beach-front boutique resort located on the shores of the island of Koh Lone, off the southern end of the Island of Phuket, Thailand. The resort opened its doors for ETC’s exclusive use, as a means of offering the students a first-hand glimpse of what it might be like to work as a staff member for one of the region’s many five-star resorts upon completion of their ETC program.

On both days, the students participated in the clean-up of the approximately 500 meters of beachfront. Many dead coral pieces, rocks, bottles and other rubbish were removed in order to make the beach clean and safe for the resort’s customers. Although dead coral wash is prominent along the beaches at this time of the year, the tsunami’s effects were evident in the increase in volume this season. The students found many living things – such as Crown of Thorns, Brittle Stars, Hermit Crabs, Sea Thugs – all of which were left in tact, however any dead sea life, including many large pieces of coral, were taken out to sea where they could decompose naturally.

The ETC espouses as part of its core curriculum that service to our community, no matter how small or large, corresponds with service to our habitat, whether local or global. “Students learn to be aware of their natural surroundings and to take care of those surroundings by participating in them.” states Reid Ridgway, Managing Director of ETC. This philosophy forms the basis for creating advocacy for environmental responsibility among young Thai people. In return for their hard work, the students were rewarded with a sumptuous five-course European meal and a good time was had by all. To end the evening’s activities, the group participated in making and floating kratongs into the sea in celebration of Loy Krathong.

The Ecotourism Training Center, located in Khuk Khak, Phang Nga, Thailand, is a long-term tsunami recovery project providing immediate employment and vocational career training to young Thai adults in tsunami-affected communities. ETC’s clean up activities are sponsored in part by Project Aware.

For more information see:

Reid Ridgway
Managing Director
Ecotourism Training Center
Mobile:  66 (0) 7263 6016
Office: 076-420-258
Fax: 076-420-362

67/7 Soi Had Baan Bang Niang
Moo # 5, Pechakacem Road
Tamboon Khuk Khak, Amphur Takuapa
Phang Nga Province, 82190