Songkhla Lake: An Invaluable Cultural Heritage
“Songkhla Lake” is on the verge of being entitled a designated area which will introduce local ways of life of people around the lake, its identities, and beautiful attractions to both Thai and foreign tourists as well as making a community-based tourism in the area become more sustainable.
In 2020, after the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization) or DASTA has paid a visit to the area of “Songkhla Lake” which is comprised of 3 provinces – Songkhla, Phatthalung, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. DASTA has noticed that these 3 provinces have their own uniqueness and identities. The local ways of life of people in the area have been continued for generations and they are seen as intangible and valuable cultural heritage. Besides, a plenty of natural, historical, and cultural resources of the area also contribute to the reason why “Songkhla Lake” should be announced as one of the designated areas.
Group Captain Athikun Kongmee, director of the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization) or DASTA, has stated that DASTA is going to help support and work with its associates, both in public and private sectors, such as Provincial Chamber of Commerce, local government organizations, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, and most importantly, local communities themselves. All of these associates and organizations will play significant roles in drafting a roadmap to develop tourism in the 3 provinces. Also, every related party working together will accelerate the roadmap to accomplish its goals faster.
Since Songkhla Lake and the area around it have a myriad of potentials for tourism, DASTA has come up with a plan to broadly create an awareness and introduce the area to the tourists. Focused points of the plan also include developing the Songkhla Lake area to be a unique travel route and elevating the tourism in the area through merchandise and value-added products with Geographical Indication (GI). The identities and potentials of each community will be developed and framed into travel routes which will be presented to the tourists who are interested. Other than that, an improvement of tourism personnel and a value-adding of the communities and their stories are also important parts of the development plan.
Songkhla National Museum is a place filled with entrancing cultures. The museum has been standing here for more than 100 years and its buildings were constructed in a Chinese-Western architectural style. The museum displays a number of artifacts that are the cultural heritage of the lower southern region. It is an excellent learning center for those who are interested in archeology, history, arts, ethnology, Chinese arts, and local arts. There is also an exhibition displaying old items belonging to “Na Songkhla” family which is the family of Songkhla governors in the past.
Furthermore, DASTA is planning to make an old town of Songkhla to become one of the World Heritage cities. The organization also plans to arrange a community-based travel route in Ban Hua Khao Daeng community in Singhanakhon district which will take the tourists to see old fortresses on Songkhla-Ranot Road and other interesting attractions.
“The importance of this support is that we would like to create a participation from the local communities and build an awareness among the tourists. These two things will contribute to the generation and fair distribution of incomes in the communities as they are the true owners of the area and resources. The generation and distribution of incomes will then lead to a sustainable tourism management in the area. Besides, DASTA is anticipating to announce Songkhla Lake as one of the designated areas by the end of 2021,” added Group Captain Athikun.