The area along the Thai-Burmese border in the western part of Thailand is dominated by mountain ranges lying in north-south direction. This area is enriched with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and diversity of ethnic minority groups. Some of these places are promoted to be tourist attractions. However, sustainable tourism is still in its infancy. The project entitled “Geographical Techniques for the Study of Cultural Diversity and Tourism Development” was launched in 2010. The study area covered the connecting area of 2 rural districts - Dan Chang district, Suphan Buri province and Ban Rai district, Uthai Thani province. This paper presents the first stage of this project aiming to explore and identify the potential of tourist attractions in the study area. Methodology involved field survey, classification and assessment of potential of tourist attractions, development of GIS tourism database, and implementation of SWOT analysis. Results showed that tourist attractions are based almost entirely on its cultural and natural heritage. Based on the SWOT analysis, its strength is in term of the cultural uniqueness and the richness of forestry and wildlife, the major weakness is the incompleteness of physical transportation and facilities, and the uncooperative manner between the relevant government agencies. The opportunity is that this area can be promoted to be new tourist attractions both domestic and international levels. The threat is that the natural resources, especially wildlife sanctuaries and forests have been destroyed continuously by swidden agriculture. Further study in sustainable tourism is needed to maintain fragile and valuable resources.
Areerut Patnukao, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
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