“Sukhothai” - More than a “World Heritage Site”
Sukhothai is prepared to welcome tourists from across the globe, presenting its local handicrafts and art such as Sangkhalok, sculptures, carpentry, and golden accessories.
Sukhothai is once again in the spotlight, since UNESCO declared the city as part of the Creative Cities Network in the year 2019 under the “Crafts and Folk Art” category. Sukhothai was one of the 66 cities across the globe selected to be part of the UCCN – as well as Thailand’s first city to join the network.
In December 1991, UNESCO declared “Sukhothai and its Surrounding Cities” as a world heritage site, characterized by its creative arts and crafts which serve as evidences of the culture and grandeur of the ancient civilization.
Besides its status as a world heritage site, Sukhothai’s highlights stem from the local communities’ lifestyle which is highly influenced by art and culture. Popular crafts and folk art include “Teen Jok” handwoven textiles, Sangkhalok stoneware, sculptures, wood carvings, and golden accessories. The unique designs of these products are exclusively available at Sukhothai – creating recognition for the province among international tourists.
Dr. Prakong Saichan, the Manager of the Designated Area 4 under the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), or DASTA, states the definition of a Creative City. According to Dr. Prakong, a Creative City is characterized by collaboration between the local community and the public sector. The city implements creativity in various dimensions, such as environmental development, social infrastructure, and economic infrastructure. Moreover, the city shall apply its cultural, historical, and traditional resources with modern technology to create an atmosphere which attracts business opportunities and cultivates a sustainable creative industry.
A creative city shall be developed in four key areas, as follows:
1. Knowledge Development: The city shall have core competencies in knowledge, culture, local traditions, tourist attractions, and unique products.
2. Marketing Development: The city shall develop a distinct selling point which provides marketing and value-creating opportunities.
3. Planning Development: The city shall establish a sustainable management and planning system, with a clear vision for developing its creative standpoint.
4. Collaboration Development: The city shall encourage collaboration between community leaders, networks, the private sector, businesses, the civil sector, and the education industry.
“The benefits of becoming part of the UCCN will boost international awareness of Sukhothai, attracting a larger number of tourists from across the globe to visit the historical creative city. Tourists from other creative cities will also visit Sukhothai. The effective development efforts of DASTA has equipped the local communities with the competencies to support tourism growth.”
Another benefit of joining the UCCN is the opportunity to exchange development strategies in the area of arts, culture, and creativity with experienced personnel in other creative cities across the globe – via collaborative campaigns and activities. These joint efforts publicize each creative city to incentivize trade, investment, and tourism growth.
Members of the UCCN have the privilege to participate in annual UCCN conferences organized in various countries across the globe. The creative cities are encouraged to hold operational conferences with fellow members sharing the same UCCN category. Moreover, the member cities receive the permission to use the UNESCO logo in its public relations and marketing campaigns, which boosts credibility and international awareness.