Throughout a 30 year career at the crossroads of community development and rural cultural tourism, Ms. Potjana Suansri has dedicated herself to the task of empowering local people: striving to bring the struggles and successes of Thailand’s rural communities to the attention of Thailand’s urban and middle classes. Her work has built the knowledge, skills and confidence of thousands of Thais to define, direct and benefit more from development.
Ms. Suansri is recognised as Thailand’s foremost pioneer of community-based tourism (CBT). Her work over the past 20 years has lead to greater recognition of the importance of local community participation in sustainable rural tourism development, and provided multiple innovative tools and processes to realise this in practice. Ms. Suansri’s influence is reflected by the fact that all major Thai tourism organisations now have community participation and benefit integrated into their goals and planning.
Ms. Suansri’s work has influenced CBT development at local, national, regional and international levels. She is a valued resource person for government and NGO’s inside and outside Thailand in issues including community mobilization, community based research, participatory tourism planning and experience development, and facilitating market linkages.