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THE SEVEN GREENS TOURISM CONCEPT IN MAETAENG ELEPHANT PARK, CHIANG MAI PROVINCE, THAILAND. Associate Professor Dr. Weerapon Thongma, Dean, School of Tourism.

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Presentation on theme: "THE SEVEN GREENS TOURISM CONCEPT IN MAETAENG ELEPHANT PARK, CHIANG MAI PROVINCE, THAILAND. Associate Professor Dr. Weerapon Thongma, Dean, School of Tourism."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE SEVEN GREENS TOURISM CONCEPT IN MAETAENG ELEPHANT PARK, CHIANG MAI PROVINCE, THAILAND. Associate Professor Dr. Weerapon Thongma, Dean, School of Tourism Development, Maejo University, Chiang Mai, Thailand Associate Professor Dr. Weerapon Thongma, Dean, School of Tourism Development, Maejo University, Chiang Mai, Thailand ABSTRACT Tourism Authority of Thailand made use the Seven Greens Concept as a guide for the different tourism stakeholders in promoting Green Tourism. These concepts focus on different aspects of tourism such as Green Heart, Green Logistics, Green Community, Green Attraction, Green Activity, Green Service and Green Plus +. This research aims to examine if Maetaeng elephant Park applies the Seven Greens Concept in delivering their service to the guests. This research will be provide examples that will shoe whether or not the park is practicing Green Tourism. The respondents were manager and his staff including administrative staff, operational staff, and mahouts who are important person or related to apply 7 Greens Concept in Maetaeng Elephant Park and owner of Maetaeng Home stay totally 60 respondents. Result of this research showed that Maetaeng Elephant Park is applying the Seven Greens Concept in terms of its Services Management through its elephant show, oxcart ride, buffalo activities, bamboo rafting, buffet restaurant, souvenir shops, toilets, car park, and its tourist information centre. Although they are some existing problem concerning cleanliness and waste management, these problems are not that extreme and can be resolved by observing ways of how garbage are disposed and how fragment the toilets and other facilities are cleaned. This park also is considering the carrying capacity of the area which is a very important concept of sustainable tourism and green tourism. Although the concept and measurement of carrying capacity is still vague, Maetaeng Elephant Park knows that considering the carrying capacity of the area is significant not only for the sake of the environment, but also for the elephants and for the handlers and community as well. Everything and everyone has its own limitations and we must be aware of that. Surpassing ones own limitations may bring consequences that we must be ready for. Maetaeng Elephant Park is not only concerned on the welfare of its owners, the elephants and other animals, and the environment, they are also concerned on the sake of the people who offer service to the tourists coming to the park. Maetaeng Elephant Park has the commitment and passion not only for money but for the environment and community as well a truly sustainable ecotourism destination. Keywords: seven greens tourism, Elephant park. INTRODUCTION Maetaeng Elephant Park is one of the famous tourist destinations in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is a home not only to the magnificent elephants but also to the Mahouts (the one who controls the elephants) and their families. The camp is dedicated and passionate in protecting the elephants and is against animal cruelty. Aside from that one of their advocacy is to help the local community and tribes; and to ensure their employees welfare as well. This park offers a lot of activities the tourists will surely enjoy. Aside from the elephant show and elephant riding, there are also other activities such as oxcart riding and bamboo rafting (Maetaeng Elephant Park.,n.d.) INTRODUCTION Maetaeng Elephant Park is one of the famous tourist destinations in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is a home not only to the magnificent elephants but also to the Mahouts (the one who controls the elephants) and their families. The camp is dedicated and passionate in protecting the elephants and is against animal cruelty. Aside from that one of their advocacy is to help the local community and tribes; and to ensure their employees welfare as well. This park offers a lot of activities the tourists will surely enjoy. Aside from the elephant show and elephant riding, there are also other activities such as oxcart riding and bamboo rafting (Maetaeng Elephant Park.,n.d.) OBJECTIVE This paper aims to examine if Maetaeng Elephant Park applies the Seven Green Concepts in delivering their service to the guests. We will provide examples that will show whether or not the park is practicing Green Tourism. OBJECTIVE This paper aims to examine if Maetaeng Elephant Park applies the Seven Green Concepts in delivering their service to the guests. We will provide examples that will show whether or not the park is practicing Green Tourism. METHODOLOGY Location of the Study We are dedicated to protecting the Asian Elephant and it is through Maetaeng Elephant Park that we are able to fulfill our commitment. Many of our elephants spent their early years in the logging industry, some have been brought here from the streets where they were used for begging. Some have been born right at the Park. (Maetaeng Elephant Park Website, 2012) Located at the Maeteang Village in Northern Chiangmai, Maeteang Elephant Park houses over 40 elephants. These elephants are the main attraction of the said park. They offer activities such as oxen cart ride, buffalo ride, bamboo rafting, and activities involving the elephants (e.g. elephant ride, elephant show, feeding and bathing the elephants). Interview Respondents Owner of Maetaeng Elephant Camp and his staff about 45 persons, such as manager, head office, head of the elephant activities, head of the bamboo rafting, head of Buffalo activities, head of Ox Cart Riding etc., and 15 owner of Maetaeng Homestay. The total number of the respondents were 60. The interview was straightforward question and answer, and throughout, all the conversations are recorded with 10 of exchange students from Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines during April –May METHODOLOGY Location of the Study We are dedicated to protecting the Asian Elephant and it is through Maetaeng Elephant Park that we are able to fulfill our commitment. Many of our elephants spent their early years in the logging industry, some have been brought here from the streets where they were used for begging. Some have been born right at the Park. (Maetaeng Elephant Park Website, 2012) Located at the Maeteang Village in Northern Chiangmai, Maeteang Elephant Park houses over 40 elephants. These elephants are the main attraction of the said park. They offer activities such as oxen cart ride, buffalo ride, bamboo rafting, and activities involving the elephants (e.g. elephant ride, elephant show, feeding and bathing the elephants). Interview Respondents Owner of Maetaeng Elephant Camp and his staff about 45 persons, such as manager, head office, head of the elephant activities, head of the bamboo rafting, head of Buffalo activities, head of Ox Cart Riding etc., and 15 owner of Maetaeng Homestay. The total number of the respondents were 60. The interview was straightforward question and answer, and throughout, all the conversations are recorded with 10 of exchange students from Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines during April –May The park also tries to limit the visitor arrivals that they have every day. They implement the reservation period of one month before the date of visit to prevent from having overcrowding in the park. They usually limit up to 500 visitors on regular days and around 800 visitors in peak seasons. This practice will prevent the environment from deteriorating due to exceeding the carrying capacity of the place. Also, Maetaeng Elephant Park satisfied the requirements for Thailand Tourism Standards Certificate from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports which shows that they comply with the acceptable way of caring for the destination and its employees. Maetaeng Elephant Park has become the Chailerts life, the elephants and the mahouts, their families. Not only are they committed to the protection of Asian Elephants but also the welfare of their handlers and their families (Maetaeng Elephant Park Website, 2012) By this, Maetaeng Elephant Park also supports community-based tourism by empowering the local community to manage the park situated in their community. Added to this, they treat their people as assets that need to be protected and taken care of. People are very important in discussing the service delivery of a destination because service comes from people/manpower. The local people are the one who take care, bathe, and gather food for the elephants. Maetaeng Elephant Park also has designed tour packages for the tourists to try the different activities and rides in the park. They offer 9 different packages with different prices as well. Prices depend on the number of activities tourists are willing to try. They offer Elephant Riding, Elephant Show, Oxen Cart Riding, Elephant Riding, Buffalo Camp Experience, and Bamboo Rafting. These activities are well suited to the local community because the facilities needed to do these activities are present in the community and will not harm the structure of the community and the environment. The park also tries to limit the visitor arrivals that they have every day. They implement the reservation period of one month before the date of visit to prevent from having overcrowding in the park. They usually limit up to 500 visitors on regular days and around 800 visitors in peak seasons. This practice will prevent the environment from deteriorating due to exceeding the carrying capacity of the place. Also, Maetaeng Elephant Park satisfied the requirements for Thailand Tourism Standards Certificate from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports which shows that they comply with the acceptable way of caring for the destination and its employees. Maetaeng Elephant Park has become the Chailerts life, the elephants and the mahouts, their families. Not only are they committed to the protection of Asian Elephants but also the welfare of their handlers and their families (Maetaeng Elephant Park Website, 2012) By this, Maetaeng Elephant Park also supports community-based tourism by empowering the local community to manage the park situated in their community. Added to this, they treat their people as assets that need to be protected and taken care of. People are very important in discussing the service delivery of a destination because service comes from people/manpower. The local people are the one who take care, bathe, and gather food for the elephants. Maetaeng Elephant Park also has designed tour packages for the tourists to try the different activities and rides in the park. They offer 9 different packages with different prices as well. Prices depend on the number of activities tourists are willing to try. They offer Elephant Riding, Elephant Show, Oxen Cart Riding, Elephant Riding, Buffalo Camp Experience, and Bamboo Rafting. These activities are well suited to the local community because the facilities needed to do these activities are present in the community and will not harm the structure of the community and the environment. IMPLICATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS With the intention to increase the awareness of the visitors to the benefits and impacts of tourism to the environment and society, Maeteang Elephant Park should improve its marketing arm to provide ways to present to the people the connection of tourism and environment. The presence of brochures and website is a good way to disseminate both the activities that the guests could enjoy and also the projects of the park which concerns environmental protection and community development. It is better if the mahouts have the skill to speak better English language since most of the visitors come from the United States and some European countries. Better communication with the visitors can help them to have better understanding and appreciation of the lives of both mahouts and their elephants. In terms of products and services being offered by the park, its management should include more activities for the visitors that will give them bigger opportunity to interact with the locals and experience their way of living. Trips to the villages can be a good way to let the visitors meet the locals. This can also be an additional source of income for the community aside from being employed to the park itself. Local tour guides could benefit from the parks activities. The park should also provide training for their employees regarding better interpersonal skills that can help them communicate more with the guests. The restaurant and restroom staffs should also be given training on the correct disposal of the collected wastes from the restaurant and restrooms. The staffs should ensure the cleanliness of the place by prevent stray cats from entering the restaurant and keeping the restrooms clean. Lastly, the use of elephant dung in making souvenir products is a great way to reduce the waste thrown in the Maetang River. However, it would be better if there are also other organic materials that could be made into new products. The park could also utilize the dung more aside from making it as papers, picture frames, etc. Knowledge about the Green Concepts should be shared not only to involved tourism establishments but also to tourists. The success of Green Tourism will be dependent to the initiatives of each and every one of us. IMPLICATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS With the intention to increase the awareness of the visitors to the benefits and impacts of tourism to the environment and society, Maeteang Elephant Park should improve its marketing arm to provide ways to present to the people the connection of tourism and environment. The presence of brochures and website is a good way to disseminate both the activities that the guests could enjoy and also the projects of the park which concerns environmental protection and community development. It is better if the mahouts have the skill to speak better English language since most of the visitors come from the United States and some European countries. Better communication with the visitors can help them to have better understanding and appreciation of the lives of both mahouts and their elephants. In terms of products and services being offered by the park, its management should include more activities for the visitors that will give them bigger opportunity to interact with the locals and experience their way of living. Trips to the villages can be a good way to let the visitors meet the locals. This can also be an additional source of income for the community aside from being employed to the park itself. Local tour guides could benefit from the parks activities. The park should also provide training for their employees regarding better interpersonal skills that can help them communicate more with the guests. The restaurant and restroom staffs should also be given training on the correct disposal of the collected wastes from the restaurant and restrooms. The staffs should ensure the cleanliness of the place by prevent stray cats from entering the restaurant and keeping the restrooms clean. Lastly, the use of elephant dung in making souvenir products is a great way to reduce the waste thrown in the Maetang River. However, it would be better if there are also other organic materials that could be made into new products. The park could also utilize the dung more aside from making it as papers, picture frames, etc. Knowledge about the Green Concepts should be shared not only to involved tourism establishments but also to tourists. The success of Green Tourism will be dependent to the initiatives of each and every one of us. RESULT AND DICUSSION With the data collected and observations made in Maetaeng Elephant Park, the management has activities that will help raise the awareness of tourists to the impacts of tourism to the society and the environment. As part of their services, Maetaeng Elephant Park produces brochures that could give more knowledge about the park and the elephants. The brochure of the park shows the activities with elephants and nature that the visitors could enjoy. Using the two dimensions of transportation in tourism given by Lumsdon and Page (2004) which are: 1.) Transport for tourism and 2.) Transport as a tourism experience, we can identify the significance of using green logistics as a green concept in Maetaeng Elephant Park. We all know that transport is one of the important components of tourism. Without transportation, there is no tourism. Transportation can also be a tourism experience. Riding a buffalo or an elephant and riding a bamboo raft is very unusual for a person to ride, especially those people who came from Europe and America because these areas are not agriculturally-positioned areas. Because of this, it can be a unique experience one may offer to the tourists. This is the unique experience Maetaeng Elephant Park offers to the tourists. The Elephant and Oxen Cart Riding, and Bamboo Rafting experience as their tourism product combines tourism and environment by bringing tourism transport experience to the tourists and helping the environment by encouraging the tourists to use animal rides and bamboo rafting to go around the park and also make them appreciate the value of riding environment-friendly forms of transport. RESULT AND DICUSSION With the data collected and observations made in Maetaeng Elephant Park, the management has activities that will help raise the awareness of tourists to the impacts of tourism to the society and the environment. As part of their services, Maetaeng Elephant Park produces brochures that could give more knowledge about the park and the elephants. The brochure of the park shows the activities with elephants and nature that the visitors could enjoy. Using the two dimensions of transportation in tourism given by Lumsdon and Page (2004) which are: 1.) Transport for tourism and 2.) Transport as a tourism experience, we can identify the significance of using green logistics as a green concept in Maetaeng Elephant Park. We all know that transport is one of the important components of tourism. Without transportation, there is no tourism. Transportation can also be a tourism experience. Riding a buffalo or an elephant and riding a bamboo raft is very unusual for a person to ride, especially those people who came from Europe and America because these areas are not agriculturally-positioned areas. Because of this, it can be a unique experience one may offer to the tourists. This is the unique experience Maetaeng Elephant Park offers to the tourists. The Elephant and Oxen Cart Riding, and Bamboo Rafting experience as their tourism product combines tourism and environment by bringing tourism transport experience to the tourists and helping the environment by encouraging the tourists to use animal rides and bamboo rafting to go around the park and also make them appreciate the value of riding environment-friendly forms of transport. We must provide competent management, and their actions must be just and ethical. (Maetaeng Elephant Park Website, 2012) Ensuring quality service to visitors is one of the basic factors to consider by all tourist destinations. Foods cooked in accordance to certain standards, clean restrooms, and staffs that are available at all time are some of the considerations for a quality service that are deserved by the guests. Moreover, with green service, satisfaction of guests is not only measured by the quality of service but also with the practices of the establishments that will show care and concern to the environment. They also put effort in cleaning their restrooms and making sure that they always have enough supply of toiletries available for the guests. Therefore Green Plus is to encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among operators. Maetaeng Elephant Park performs 3Cs with other elephant camps. They communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with the 10 elephant camps situated within the area for the improvement of elephant lives and caring of the elephants of each camp. Also, the park has Save elephant lives project where tourists can help saving elephant lives and improve their lifestyle by either purchasing an elephant art or donating 500 baht for the elephants in the park. This project is not compulsory but this is part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. We must provide competent management, and their actions must be just and ethical. (Maetaeng Elephant Park Website, 2012) Ensuring quality service to visitors is one of the basic factors to consider by all tourist destinations. Foods cooked in accordance to certain standards, clean restrooms, and staffs that are available at all time are some of the considerations for a quality service that are deserved by the guests. Moreover, with green service, satisfaction of guests is not only measured by the quality of service but also with the practices of the establishments that will show care and concern to the environment. They also put effort in cleaning their restrooms and making sure that they always have enough supply of toiletries available for the guests. Therefore Green Plus is to encourage Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among operators. Maetaeng Elephant Park performs 3Cs with other elephant camps. They communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with the 10 elephant camps situated within the area for the improvement of elephant lives and caring of the elephants of each camp. Also, the park has Save elephant lives project where tourists can help saving elephant lives and improve their lifestyle by either purchasing an elephant art or donating 500 baht for the elephants in the park. This project is not compulsory but this is part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.


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