The main structure at the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok stands with its lights switched on minutes after ending the Earth Hour environmental campaign in Bangkok on March 25, 2017. (AFP / Roberto SCHMIDT)
Your feedback is important to us!
We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.
Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.
Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)
Six years ago, Somsak "Pai" Boonkam drew up a plan with two villages in northern Thailand for tourists to stay with local families and immerse themselves in hill-tribe culture.That pushed the former engineer, now 34, to set up Local Alike, a travel consultancy that promotes sustainable tourism in 70 villages.A growing number of young Thai entrepreneurs like Pai are getting involved in activities that have traditionally been the domain of the government and development groups -- from providing water in remote communities to helping coffee farmers earn a fair income.This new generation of business owners believes running companies that invest in tackling social and environmental causes is a better way to help than relying on donors' whims.Half of Local Alike's business units are now financially sustainable and it runs a development fund that supports local projects, he said.In Thailand, companies seeking certification as social enterprises cannot pay more than 30 percent of their profits in the form of shareholder dividends, said TSEO's Nuttaphong.The public perception that such businesses offer lower-quality products still needs to be tackled, experts say.Lee hopes the division between social and traditional businesses will fade with time.
FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE