Bang Kachao, the green expanse dubbed Bangkok’s lungs, is earmarked for development as a special area for sustainable tourism, according to the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta).
Dasta announced that Bang Kachao, hugged by the Chao Phraya River and covering districts in Bangkok and neighbouring Samut Prakan, is to be declared a special tourism area to allow for development that attracts local participation.
The proposed designation will be put to the cabinet for consideration later in the year, according to Gp Capt Athikun Kongmee, Dasta’s director.
He said a feasibility study will be conducted before a development blueprint for Bang Kachao as a new special tourism area is drawn up.
He said Bang Kachao has a great deal of potential. The area is full of natural resources kept intact by a local community with a unique culture.
The area is also conveniently accessible from Bangkok. Central to the special tourism designation is the engagement of local people in tourism development to ensure the preservation of the local environment and culture while also contributing to an enhanced quality of life for locals, according to Dasta.
The agency has arranged a public relations event to promote wider understanding of the project and local participation.
He said the goal was to create a tourism environment that provides optimum benefits to local residents while causing the least adverse effects on the economy, society and natural surroundings.
Sustainable tourism can be achieved by adopting the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) issued by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
The goal will be realised with funding secured from the current fiscal year’s national budget. The money will pay for two projects to prepare strategies for the development of Ban Kachao and to manage the area as a prototype for sustainable tourism using the GSTC, said Gp Capt Athikun.
Bang Kachao is popular as a weekend destination with a large green area comprising 12,000 rai of land which is home to farmland, forests and more than 13,000 families.
It is regarded as an urban oasis, which absorbs up to 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and releases about 6 million tonnes of oxygen a day.