In 2006, Potjana directed and developed the Thailand Community-Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I) from an innovative action research project into a legally registered, internationally respected knowledge hub for Community-Based Tourism. CBT-I coordinated the Thai CBT movement, working with civil society to successfully lobby the Thai government to formalize local community participation in, and benefits from, rural tourism at policy level; and engaging tour operators and tourism associations to understand, support and sell CBT.
Since 2014, Potjana has been busy sharing her experience with neighbours in the GMS, as an expert on Capacity Building and Product Development for the ground-breaking United Nations International Trade Center (ITC), NTF Myanmar Inclusive Tourism Project, in Kayah State and Dawei District, Tanintharyi Region, Myanmar.
According to the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and regional champion of sustainable tourism, Mr. Pradech Phayakvichien:
“Potjana is a modest, generous person, who is happy to work hard in the background, away from the spotlight. However, the influence of her work and ideas on government, private sector, academic and NGO programs, catalyzing and demonstrating how to drive local benefits into responsible tourism is massive.”
Ms. May Myat Mon Win, Chairperson of the Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association voiced her appreciation of Potjana’s role sharing lessons learned with Myanmar:
“Step by step, Potjana’s work has built the skills, confidence and opportunities of local community members in Thailand, Myanmar, and across the Greater Mekong Subregion to influence and benefit more from local tourism development. Without her contribution, there is no doubt that our region would have far less knowledge about how to do ‘great local experiences with real local benefits’ well. Potjana is truly fitting for recognition and appreciation as the first Mekong Hero.”
To learn more about Potjana’s work, read the in-depth interview at Sustainability Leaders: https://sustainability-leaders.com/potjana-suansri-interview/
About the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office:
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), located in Bangkok, was set up with funding from the governments of the six Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries – Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The MTCO, which operates on annual financial contributions from each GMS country, acts as the secretariat for the GMS Tourism Working Group, comprising of senior officials of the six GMS countries’ National Tourism Organizations, to coordinate and facilitate sustainable tourism development of the GMS, and promotion of the Mekong region as a single travel and tourism destination, in collaboration with the public and private sectors. The MTCO manages its award-winning MekongTourism.org digital platform as a one-stop platform to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the region, as well as the annual Mekong Tourism Forum, whose hosting is rotated among GMS countries.
Please visit www.MekongTourism.org for more information.
About Destination Mekong:
Destination Mekong was created in 2017 to promote the Lancang-Mekong region, comprising of Cambodia, PR China (Provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam as a single tourism destination to stimulate responsible and sustainable development and investment, and drive inclusive growth. Endorsed by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office and aligned with the mandate of the regional collaborative tourism framework of the six-member governments of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Destination Mekong executes targeted projects and initiatives, including Mekong Moments, Mekong Memories, Mekong Deals, Mekong Mini Movie Festival, Mekong Innovative Start-ups in Tourism (MIST), Experience Mekong Collection, Mekong Heroes, and Mekong Trends, with feedback from the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group (MeTAG) and via public-private partnership investment structure, led by UNWTO Affiliate Member Chameleon Strategies.
More information at: www.DestinationMekong.com