APPEAR Project: Press Conference and Community Visit (RECAP)

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We started APPEAR Project back in October 2015! And all hard work and dedication has finally paid off. On August 30 2016, we finally kicked off the press conference and community visit for this sustainable travel project. Thanks to Bangkok Arts and Culture Center (BACC) our venue sponsor for hosting the event!

The key partners (from left to right): Ms. Achiraya ‘Achi’ (CEO of HiveSters), Mr.Rapee (Tourism Division of BMA), Mr. Yutthasak (Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand), Mr. Martin (‎Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP Thailand) , Ms. Thapanee (Executive Director of Product Promotion Department, TAT), Ms. Chayanich ‘Mint’, Ms. Panjit (Director of TAT Bangkok Office), and Mr. Jutaphat (Corporate Communications Assistant Manager at Thai AirAsia)

The Concept of APPEAR

APPEAR Project is a sustainable travel project in developing 6 disappearing communities in Bangkok in a collaboration with UNDP Thailand and Bangkok Tourism Division and sponsorship from Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and AirAsia Thailand. As the first collaboration of public-private partnership to develop sustainable travel activities in disappearing communities in Bangkok and also create innovative solutions to solve social issues of the communities, APPEAR connects local communities to various partners including social enterprise, governmental sector, international organization, and private sectors in hospitality and tourism industries.

Although tourism industry has a direct contribution to the GDP of Thailand, but local people living in the areas of travel destinations are still yet to fully derive any benefits from the economic growth. In Bangkok, many people living in historical urban communities still face intermittent poverty and are struggling with disappearing culture and identities. While these local communities could potentially offer unique travel activities to hotel guests, they have limited skills in creating and pricing travel services, doing online marketing and reaching out to potential travellers. At the same time, urban hotels are increasingly interested in implementing sustainability policy for employee retention, guest experience and brand reputation.  So we matched these two to work together to bring back disappearing communities and make them ‘APPEAR’ again under the “Alliance of Good Neighbours”.

6 Communities around Bangkok area that are in APPEAR Project

Our communities include Nang Loeng, Bang Lamphu, Ban Bu, Koh Sarn Chao, Bang Kradi and Hua Takhe who will be matched with 6 leading hospitality groups/hotels in Bangkok namely Sukosol Hotels (partnered with Nang Loeng community), Erawan Group (partnered with Bang Lamphu), Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit (partnered with Ban Bu), The Sukhothai Hotel (partnered with Koh Sarn Chao community), Anantara Riverside Hotel (partnered with Bang Kradi community) and Banyan Tree Bangkok (partnered with Hua Takhe communities).

HiveSters with representatives from communities and hotels

Press Conference

Hosted by Mr. Winyu “John” Wongsurawat, the morning press conference began with the welcome remark by Mr.Martin Hart-Hansen,UNDP Deputy Representative in Thailand, followed by opening speech of Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn who is Tourism Authority of Thailand governor where they addressed the importance of local people to take part in developing Thai tourism and use it as a tool to improve the livelihood of the locals according to UNDP principle of sustainable development and TAT’s campaign on local Thainess. Our co-founder and CEO ‘Achi’ Achiraya finally introduced the audience to HiveSters and the project teaser before starting the panel session.

After that there was a panel discussion about APPEAR project by 3 key partners including Mr. Wisoot Tantinan ( UNDP Thailand), our co-founder ‘Mint’ Chayanich, and Mr. Rapeepat Ketkosol (Chief of Tourism Development Sub-Division, Tourism Division, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration). All partners were very delighted to join hands together in this project.

Panel Talk on APPEAR Project

The final important and highlighted session is ‘Announcement on Alliance of Good Neighbours’ which representatives from matched hotels and communities exchanged the their flags to the other to keep.

In front of the auditorium, there were various desserts and foodies from our food & beverage sponsors (Mivana Organic Coffee, and  Jasberry Organic Tea) and our highlighted community desserts from 6 communities; Dried Rice Balls (Kao Too) from Koh Sarn Chao Community, Rice Thread Topped Coconut Milk and Shredded Coconut (Rae Rai) from Ban Bu Community, Bean Paste (Med Khanoon) from Bang Kradi Community, Toddy Palm Cake (Khanom Tarn) from Nang Loeng Community, Leaf Bread(Khanom Baimai) and Bael jelly from  Hua Takhe Community, and Rice Cracker with Wrapped Pork (Kao Tang Miang Laos) from Bang Lamphu Community.

Community Visit

In the afternoon, hotel representatives, registered presses, invited guests and our partners (from TAT, UNDP, Thai Airasia,etc.) joined the exclusive trips to their selected communities enjoyed local lunch and participated in local activities/culture that are disappearing according to following theme of each community:

  • Nang Loeng – “Vibrant Food Market and Hub of Performance” (See blog about Nang Loeng here)
  • Ban Bu – “Legacies from hands” (See blog about Ban Bu here)
  • Bang Lamphu – “Hollywood of the Past” (See blog about Bang Lamphu here)
  • Koh Sarn Chao – “Crafted from Nature” (See blog about Koh Sarn Chao here)
  • Hua Takhe – “The Hub of Local Living and Contemporary Arts” (See blog about Hua Takhe here)
  • Bang Kradi – “Lost in Mon’s World” (See blog about Bang Kradi here)

– Sukosol hotel staffs enjoyed learning ballroom dance with Uncle Ja at the Dancing House at Nang Loeng community
– Aunt Kanya’s telling about her ancestry who passed on Chatri Dance for many generations at Nang Loeng’s Lakhon Alley
– Aunt Sunan taught UNDP staff to the last process of making stone-polished bronze bowl in Ban Bu
– Little kids in Ban Bu performed Thai martial arts called ‘Krabi-Krabong’
– Learning Thai music at Duriyapraneet House in Bang Lamphu
– Visiting Pipit Banglamphu, the local museum displaying Bang Lamphu community since the past
– P’Dui showing his masterpiece of banana trunk carving craft in Koh Sarn Chao
– Getting hands dirty and helping Grandma Berm making organic banana cakes at Koh Sarn Chao
– Enjoying local lunch in Hua Takhe
– Uncle Kite telling his passion of kite-making and taught how to make kite in Hua Takhe

Next Phase

Followed the alliance of good neighbors, the next phase will be the sessions where the matched couple between locals and hotels will brainstorm innovative ideas to create creative solutions to develop further in solving issues and developing sustainable tourism in the next 6 months from September 2016. We’ll keep you posted and updated about the project. Stay tuned!

Last Words Lastly, we would like to thank you our wonderful partners, and those who have helped us during the event especially Deeristic Agency for public relations, Prink Creation for stage organizing, and NIDA/G-Lab for advising during the project!

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