On a regular basis The Silo informs you about personalities who took their part in changing our world to a better place. This part brought to you by our friends at Green Pearls® is dedicated to the Tongsai Bay in Thailand which engages in sustainable tourism since its foundation celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
How it all began
It all began in 1986 when Khun Akorn Hoontrakul was on a boat trip with his twelve year old son Thanakorn and they spotted the bay from the sea. Khun Akorn immediately felt passionate about it – something Thanakorn did not understand back then. “My 12 year old mind didn’t really appreciate its beauty at that time. The sand was coarse and the water was dark blue because of its depth. It was my Dad who saw the potential and later said to me: ‘It was love at first sight'”, recounts Thanakorn.
Sleeping under the stars
Within one week Khun Akorn bought the land and started building the hotel. At a time when nobody thought about sustainable tourism, he believed in the responsibility to protect nature. To ensure that no tree was felled and the impact on nature was kept as low as possible, he slept at the beach for three months.
Setting a good example
Today, almost 30 years later, the hotel is led by Thanakorn and his wife Saisiri. They share the same passion about sustainable tourism believing that everyone is responsible for the protection of the environment. Their deep belief is that every little step makes a difference. They set a good example for everybody in their private and professional life: “It’s a way of life, to not destroy the environment. It’s a constant thought to make sure habits don’t contribute to waste. If we forget our water bottle, we won’t drink, as we do not drink from plastic”.
Acting sustainable is a holistic approach
Leading the hotel in a sustainable way does not only mean to take green aspects into account. Furthermore it involves a holistic approach, taking into account environmental as well as social aspects, like fair salary, staff training and education. Just as in their private life they focus on waste prevention: kitchen waste for example is composted and reused as fertilizer in the own garden.
Open for everyone: the organic garden
The hotel’s own horticulturist and gardeners are responsible for the organic garden which provides the vegetables and herbs for the kitchen. They developed a fermenting process from oranges and limes using different kinds of micro organisms for an efficient cleaning process. The garden and its plants are open for guests, who can use for example the aloe vera to treat sun burned skin. Additionally there is natural mosquito repellent made by locals, glass cleaner made out of pineapples as well as natural toothpaste.
What has changed since the opening (or in a good way not changed)
Many trees have been planted along the walkway leading to the Cottages providing more shade and in the space of ten+ years there will be a tree tunnel with shade all day long which makes walking much easier in the heat. This is to say that Tongsai is even greener than it used to be. There are 66 kinds of birds spotted in Tongsai in the past 12 years. The star resident bird is the colorful Pink-Necked Pigeon, and even a slow Loris had been spotted near NangGong Villa by Gob and Goya back in 2002. There is still a lot of natural space left in the territory but instead of building more man-made structures the business is not being expanded and natural areas are left untouched.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary
On the 8th of July 2017 the Tongsai Bay celebrates its 30th birthday inviting the guests to a BBQ dinner. In a special corner called ‘Year One: A Taste of Yesteryear’ guests can try some of the dishes served in the first year after the opening. Furthermore until the end of 2017 guests can book the ‘Tongsai Bay Celebratory Package’ containing three nights in a Seafront Cottage with a view over the private bay and the deep blue sea, daily breakfast and fruits, welcome drinks and much more.
The German Green Pearls GmbH ( based in Darmstadt, Germany ) unifies international tourism companies that support environmental protection and demonstrate social commitment. Thereby, Green Pearls is the first holding company worldwide that consolidates sustainable hotels, destinations and restaurants in a global data source.
Among the criteria of admission to Green Pearls® Unique Places, are a sustainability plan on management level, sustainable architecture, comprehensive water, energy saving and waste recovery measures, the use of seasonal and regional ingredients in the kitchen, as well as a large commitment for the social balance in each of the vacation regions.