World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

PHUKET, THAILAND – 26 September 2017 – In celebration of World Tourism Day on 27th September 2017, JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa together with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Marriott Thailand Business Council will host a showcase of their award winning Sustainable Tourism Practices, “Best CSR – Social Impact Partnership” at the 2017 Rockefeller Social Impact Awards, curated by The Resource Alliance.

The highlight of the event, to be held at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa in Mai Khao sub-district, will be an awareness-raising event on sustainable seafood , the special black crab dish that will be served for dinner on World Tourism Day itself. The crabs used in this specially-prepared dish are sustainably sourced from the Pu Dam community as they are wild caught from Klong Au Ta Pao mangrove forest, located 5km from JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa. The crabs – only those bigger than 150 grams – are caught using low impact gear and boats without engines.

Marriott has been purchasing black crabs and other sustainable seafood from the Pu Dam community since 2014.
“We take great care and effort when it comes to where our fish and seafood is sourced from, and we always choose sustainable options. We believe in doing our bit for the environment, and also want to support and improve the livelihoods of coastal-resources dependent communities,” said Chef Dietmar Spitzer, Executive Chef for JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa.

The World Tourism Day event will also include an “Ancient Wild” black crab cooking class, where guests will learn how to make authentic Phuket dishes with Tanasub Trisub AKA Chef Tham, a local chef, alongside handicraft activities at the Mai Khao Women’s Community Group Bracelet project.

The event will also feature other unique sustainable tourism initiatives such as the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation Shelter and Education Center, a local non-governmental organization and IUCN Member organization. There will also be a premiere screening of “Black Crab Community”, a short documentary film produced and directed by social impact film director Mr. Alan Compton.

Phuket Governor Noraphat Plodthong, directors from Tourism Authority of Thailand, local media, representativesfrom IUCN and the Pu Dam community will be at the resort to celebrate the special day.

The importance of sustainable seafood is picking up real momentum as the world’s fisheries are in great danger of collapsing due to overfishing. Increasing demand for seafood and advances in technology have led to overfishing practices, causing species to become endangered, as well as intensive and poorly regulated aquaculture, which directly impacts nearby ecosystems. Purchasing and consuming sustainable seafood is a fundamental step in protecting our oceans and ensuring that future generations can still rely on fisheries in the future.

IUCN and Marriott have been in partnership since 2013, and have worked together to protect the environment and support Thailand’s local communities through mangrove restoration, the use of sustainable seafood sources and local procurement practices in Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Rayong. To date, the partnership has restored over 16 hectares of mangrove forests, purchased over 5.5 million Baht worth of sustainable seafood and handicraft from local communities and contributed to improving the livelihoods of over 70 families.  Over 9 million Baht has also been raised through the dollars for deeds programme to support conservation activities implemented by IUCN.

The partnership contributes to achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, SDG Goal 14 on conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources, and SDG Goal 17 on global partnership for sustainable development.

“In order for sustainable development to work, all sectors of society need to work together. This partnership truly embodies just that as we have the private sector – represented by international hotel chain Marriott, the local communities – represented by the Pu Dam community and the public sector – represented by IUCN, working together towards a common goal of protecting our oceans,” said Petch Manopawitr, Thailand Programme Coordinator and Deputy, Indo-Burma Group, IUCN.

The Pu Dam community, where black crabs are sourced for JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa restaurants, was previously supported by Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a regional grant-making facility spanning 11 countries across Asia and the Indian Ocean. With MFF’s support, capacity-building programmes on community waste management and coastal resource management were launched and mangrove areas were restored as part of a community reforestation initiative.

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism
Hunting and gathering livelihood of Mud Crab Community, Mai Khao, Phuket.
World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism
Fishing has been a livelihood that has been passed on for generations. Fishers live close to the shore and anchor their boats in canals. Mangrove forests are a natural shelter to protect boats and properties from storms as well as produce food.

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism
The livelihood of the mud crab village relies heavily on the harvest of mud crabs. Mud crabs are the most mangrove-dependent of sourced seafood. Small-scale fishermen catch mud crabs in mangrove estuaries. This sweet-meat crustacean is a highly valuable resource for local economies. The mud crab spends its whole life cycle in and around mangrove forests.
World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism
Crab traps which have been leaving overnight are collected by Mr. Aoom, with his uncle, Mr. Loan rowing at the back of the boat with help from his cousin Mr. Chame along Au Ta Pao canal, Phuket.

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism
A dish of stir-fried Black Crab with yellow curry is carefully cooked before being served to hotel guests. To ensuring the safety, quality and freshness of seafood products, Marriott Chefs source raw ingredients daily from local small-scale artisan fishers. This promotes sustainable and low impact fisheries, and reduces by-catch species and ecological footprints. To support a healthy ocean, eating species lower down the food chain (crabs, squid, oyster, mackerel, sardines, mussels) which are managed and caught responsibly are encouraged.

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism
The fact that in the fishing culture, men work at sea while most women stay at home and manage the household and take care of children which means men contribute significantly to family’s income. To provide additional income, IUCN and Marriott work together to develop and identify opportunities for sourcing of sustainable souvenirs and gifts from local communities.

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism

World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable tourism
Marriott Welcome Bracelet – gift for hotel guests
Marriott hotels have sourced welcome bracelets from local women artisans, the Mai Khao Handicraft Group. The Marriott welcome bracelet connects the hotel, community and guests. Housewives gather to weave bracelets during their free time. Several thousand of the bracelets have been given to guests of the nearby hotels. To raise awareness of marine and coastal resources conservation, the bracelet is decorated with iconic marine species shape varied by hotel’s location.

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