It’s encouraging to see more and more hotels in Thailand recognising the importance of responsible tourism. Amongst those leading the way is Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui. Previously known as The Tongsai Bay, this hotel on Ko Samui has been championing sustainability since it was first established in the 1980s. Thailand’s second biggest island has seen plenty of changes since then, but this luxury hotel has remained true to its founder’s ethos of responsible tourism. That continuing support for ethical travel led to Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui winning the Responsible Thailand Award 2022 in the eco-lodge category.
Responsible tourism in action
Tongsai Bay’s impressive Green Policy encompasses so many aspects of sustainability … And we love the way guests are informed and educated on the issues, helping them to make the right choices.– Responsible Thailand Award judging panel
Sustainability was important to the original owner of the resort, the late Akorn Hoontrakul. When The Tongsai Bay was being built, he slept on the beach for months to oversee the project and ensure the construction crews didn’t cut down any trees. This genuine love for the environment and respect for the people who live and work on Ko Samui was shared by Akorn’s son, Thanakorn, who took over the running of the hotel in 2000.
Thanakorn and his wife, Saisiri, continued to champion responsible tourism. It was something which was ingrained in the culture of the staff at the hotel. In its simplest form, responsible tourism can be defined as, “Making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit”. Tongsai Bay more than lived up to this principle. Although ownership has since passed on again and the hotel rebranded as Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui, the impressive care for the environment and support for local people continues.
Making a difference on Ko Samui
Tongsai Bay, a spot on Ko Samui where trees are not felled, no insecticides or chemical fertilisers are used in the green hotel grounds and humans are kind to animals.– Thanakorn Hoontrakul
Over the years, the resort has planted trees including a fruit orchard with coconuts, mango and jackfruit. Not only providing healthy organic fruit, the trees help absorb some of the hotel’s carbon dioxide emissions. The family-friendly resort has added a nature trail and printed guides for guests to help them identify birds and other wildlife that can be seen in the area.
The hotel produces its own natural fertiliser and has also formulated an organic cleaning solution used by the house-keeping team. To reduce plastic waste, drinking straws and rubbish bags are biodegradable. And as part of the resort’s ongoing commitment to animal welfare, Tongsai Bay has been a long-term supporter of the Dog and Cat Rescue Samui Foundation providing financial assistance and equipment.
Tongsai Bay helps educate staff members about the importance of the hotel’s Green Projects including hands-on activities like beach clean-ups. By raising awareness and encouraging positive environmental practices, it’s hoped that future generations on Ko Samui will pick up the baton and continue the good work.
Thanks to my experience, I now plant a lot more food in our organic garden that can be well utilised in all of our kitchens, and also source our fresh seafood directly from the fishermen at the nearby fish market.– Chef Eak, Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui
Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui is located in a secluded corner of Ko Samui with its own private bay. The serene setting of this luxury resort is ideal for anyone seeking a tranquil beach holiday. For more information on the hotel, visit the Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui website or social media channels:
Photos from Garrya Tongsai Bay Samui on Facebook
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