Interconnected Tourism – Experience the Local Lifestyle
The Designated Area 4 Office of DASTA is driving “interconnected tourism” between the provinces of Sukhothai, Kampaeng Phet, Tak, Uttaradit, and Phitsanulok. The provinces are rich with history, arts, culture, natural resources, and charming local lifestyles. DASTA seeks to attract tourists to stay overnight at these destinations, providing additional revenue to support the local community.
“How do we incentivize tourists to stay overnight, or at least spend the day at these provinces instead of just driving through them? That is our mission. Each of these provinces have many beautiful tourist attractions, arts and culture, as well as unique products – the same key success factors possessed by other major tourist provinces.” This statement was made by Dr. Prakong Saichan, Manager of DASTA’s Designated Area 4 Office.
The Designated Area 4 Office under the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), or DASTA, plans to develop the tourist attractions in the following five provinces - Sukhothai, Kampaeng Phet, Tak, Uttaradit, and Phitsanulok. DASTA selects the highlights of each province, such as arts and culture, handicrafts, products, services, and tourist attractions – developing them to meet the market demand of tourists. Each province shall be developed with a focus on “sustainability,” which covers the areas of art, culture, natural resources, and local lifestyle. Both tourists and locals shall have increased awareness and appreciation of the traditional lifestyle. These developments will contribute to the objective of sustainably increasing the revenue of the community.
Dr. Prakong Saichan, Manager of DASTA’s Designated Area 4 Office, states that these five provinces are geographically connected – making it appropriate to develop an interconnected tourism route between them. The objective is to incentivize tourists to stay overnight or make stops at each of the provinces – instead of merely driving through them to reach their destination. Each of the five provinces have numerous tourist attractions that share stories throughout the generations. They also preserve local lifestyles which are unique and exclusive to each community.
Sukhothai province is a famous destination and a historical tourist attraction. UNESCO declared “Sukhothai and its Surrounding Cities” as a world heritage site on 12 December 1991. Besides its history and ancient landmarks, Sukhothai is rich with local handicrafts and arts. For these reasons, UNESCO welcomed Sukhothai as a member of the Creative Cities Network in the year 2019 under the “Crafts and Folk Art” category.
Kampaeng Phet is famous for Buddha amulets, with the Nakhon Chum (Thung Setthi) Buddha Amulet Learning Center open for tourists to visit and observe how these amulets are made. The famous amulets are “Phra Soom Koh,” “Phra Glib Bua,” “Phra Med Khanoon,” “Phra Nang Phaya,” and “Phra Kampaeng Leelah.” The province is also an agricultural zone and a major supplier of Golden Bananas.
The province has other historical and natural tourist attractions not known to many travelers. The Phra Ruang Hot Springs, for instance, has been renovated to provide a beautiful landscape – ready to accommodate tourists who seeking a healthy retreat. The hot springs emerge from five spots, with a temperature of approximately 40-65 degrees Celsius. The water is free from contamination and dangerous pathogens, guaranteed by tests conducted by the Ministry of Public Health. Kampaeng Phet also possesses a cool and comfortable temperature throughout the year, with an average annual temperature of 27.4 degrees Celsius. The average highest temperature is 33.5 degrees Celsius. By developing these highlights, DASTA seeks to increase the number of tourists visiting Kampaeng Phet. The organization also intends to develop community-based tourism on the foundation of creativity. It focuses on establishing model communities characterized by personnel development and tourism volunteers, which create a lasting impression for visitors.
Tak province is a Special Economic Zone situated in the lower region of Northern Thailand. It serves as a manufacturing base of a variety of products, with many factories similar to an industrial estate. Many of the products are exported to Myanmar. The province is renowned for natural tourist attractions, such as Oum Pang in Mae Sot district. DASTA develops Tak province in the areas of community-based tourism, ecotourism, and creative tourism.
Uttaradit province, also nicknamed “Muang Laplae,” is an agricultural city with many fruit plantations. It is a major supplier of langsat and southern langsat, both of which serve as the province’s cash crops. Uttaradit also has a signature species of durian which is growing in popularity, renowned for its sweet taste and aroma. Phitsanulok province, on the other hand, is renowned for being the center of education and a logistics hub for distributing products in Northern Thailand. TCEB also declared Phitsanulok as a MICE city, opening doors for conferences and seminars to be held at the province. In terms of natural tourist attractions, the province has the Thung Salaeng Luang National Park for welcoming nature enthusiasts. DASTA plans to collaborate with its networks to develop tourism routes, products, local cuisine, and hotels in the region.
Dr. Prakong states that DASTA shall develop all areas and communities to meet the standards established by CBT Thailand. The organization will collaborate with networks in both the public and private sectors to underscore the lifestyles, identities, and other core competencies of each community – factors which incentivize tourists to visit the areas.