These are the words of Dr. Scott Michael Smith as he unveiled his latest research at Anurak Community Lodge in Thailand on the topic, “From Concept to Practice: Implementing Sustainable Tourism Development.”
This research was published in the summer edition of the highly respected Journal of Environmental Tourism and Management. The journal is listed in Scopus, the world’s largest academic abstract and citation database.
Dr. Scott, as he is affectionately known, said, “Such practices can help stabilize the industry during economic challenges and ensure benefits for local communities and the environment.”
This pioneering research explores the integration of responsible tourism practices into the business model of Anurak Community Lodge, situated in the rainforests of southern Thailand, and its parent company, YAANA Ventures. This study combines the precision of field research, the intimacy of in-depth interviews, and the practicality of guest surveys to give readers a holistic view.
Dr. Scott emphasizes the role of responsible tourism in the face of global disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic. His study underscores the importance of balancing economic progress with environmental and social needs.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shaken economies and societies worldwide, Dr. Scott urges stakeholders to find a balance between economic progress and environmental and socio-cultural protection, stating: “The recent lull in tourism activities can be a chance for us to strengthen our approach to responsible tourism in a post-COVID-19 era. It’s about balancing the three pillars: economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Only then can we ensure a robust, profitable, and sustainable tourism industry.”
Dr. Scott’s insights can guide policy development and sustainable tourism practices, proving useful for tourism operators and stakeholders committed to responsible tourism. “Responsible tourism is not just a buzzword—it’s a lifeline for the sustainability of the tourism industry,” Dr. Scott expressed in one of the excerpts from his paper.
“The current global situation is a call to action for all tourism stakeholders to band together, prioritize responsible practices, and forge a path towards economic resilience through the means of responsible tourism.”
Dr. Scott’s work offers valuable insights that can be instrumental for tourism operators promoting responsible tourism and policymakers crafting sustainable tourism development guidelines.
Last year, Dr Scott presented his case study to students on the Pennsylvania State University-Berks campus based on his research paper Asian Oasis—Mythical Journeys in the Hill Tribe Villages of Northern Thailandpublished in the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education’s (ICHRIE) Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Cases (JHTC) and is regularly used in classrooms worldwide.
Dr. Scott Michael Smith is a researcher and lecturer at Assumption University, the first international university in Thailand, founded in 1969. He holds a PhD in Tourism Management and is a leading authority in the field of responsible and sustainable community-based tourism in South-East Asia. Dr Scott’s collaboration onPlanet Happiness: a Proposition to Address Overtourism and Guide Responsible Tourism, Happiness, Well-being and Sustainability in World Heritage Sites and Beyondprovides a methodology and resources to enable host communities and stakeholders to guide tourism development away from overtourism and towards destination happiness, well-being and sustainability.