Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
28 April, 2017
Join the Barge and Enjoy a day Exploring Ko Kret – A Tourism Case Study
River Cruise and Observations
It was early morning when the year 9s from Charter International School set sail along the mighty Chao Phraya, Thailand’s central river. After acquainting themselves with our modern and well equipped Barge and its array of facilities, students were invited to relax and observe the river. Taking in the scenery and fantastic views of life on the river bank, including many of Bangkok’s modern new buildings as well as the traditional temples and wooden stilt houses, the group considered how the four elements of the Sustainability Compass, (Nature, Economy, Society and Well Being) related to the activities they had observed along the river and their relevance to the tourist industry.
Ko Kret – Bangkok’s Island treasure
After cruising along the river we stopped to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Bangkok’s hidden gem and popular tourist destination island, Ko Kret. Wandering along the meandering streets amongst visiting tourists and vendors selling everything from traditional sweets to t shirts, students interviewed local people and business owners to find out their views on tourism and sustainability on the island. A popular spot for both Thai and International visitors alike, weekends and holidays are particularly busy as the markets and riverside restaurants hum with life and the background chatter of many different languages.
A visit to the island isn’t complete without the chance to admire the islands greatest talents, the Mon Potters. Allowing students to learn about the history of the famous Mon potters of the island a trip to Ba Btum Pottery provided an excellent opportunity to watch in awe as beautiful and intricate pots were thrown and polished in front of the group’s eyes. These amazing clay designs which can take up to a week to make and historically used to cook and store water, draw many tourists to the island and are a very popular souvenir!
Back on board the Barge
After returning to the barge and enjoying a traditional Thai lunched cooked on Board by our crew, the group were challenged to create a land use map of the island. Drawing and describing the key tourist areas and attractions they had visited on the island, including the mysterious leaning Chedi, pottery, traditional Thai sweet shop, Eco farms, traditional homestays and many more.
The day concluded with students producing four songs, each linking tourism on Ko Kret to the sustainability compass points they had been investigating throughout the day. The students’ reflection revealed that tourism was very important to the economy of Ko Kret, supporting the traditional livelihoods and bringing revenue to the many vendors and residents. However increasing tourism brings with it the problems of litter, loss of land for construction and increased pressure on resources on the small 4km2 island. They concluded that many of the issues faced on Ko Kret were applicable to Thailand as a wider tourist destination. With tourism accounting for almost 20% of Thailand’s GDP it is important for the economy, however sustainability challenges have to be addressed to ensure that the continual increase in visitors doesn’t damage the industry and the balance between nature, economy, society and wellbeing is maintained.