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Coconut, The Environment, And Tourism Case Study: Samui Islands, Thailand

To call. the coconut palm., "The Tree of Life" or The Tree of Heaven" is today one of those common statements which is repeated without realization of its full inplications. There is not a single part of the coconut which is not useful to man. Not even a single part of it is abandoned to destroy the natural enviromnent.

Tourism industry is one the most important economic strategies to develop the nation in many aspects. The industry could help improve the quality of life and make the people mi the nation aware of environmental preservation. The priceless side benefit of coconut especially in the situation of sustainable tounism development has been very well known throughout the world. Hence, not surpnisingly, in the southern part of Thailand where Samui Island is located, tourism and eco-tourism activities are now focussing on the side benefits of coconut plantations.

Samui Island is one of the most well-known tourist spots mi this region. The islanders have long been recognized for their coconut trees for over a hundred years or more. Some 80% of the islanders are coconut gardeners; 67% of the whole land is planted to coconut trees.

Since 1985, tounism has been introduced to the local people. Amazingly within 5 years, they had already turnd their fertile coconut plantations for tourism purposes. At the present, Ko Samui is one of the most popular tourist spots in the country. Many concerned agencies have applied to utilize the side benefits of coconut plantations to get along with the growing tourism industry of the island. These include: 1) the way of life of the coconut gardeners; 2) coconut eco-tounism and agrotourism; 3) coconut products, handicrafts, and souvenirs; 4) coconut, as main ingredient of Thai cuisine; 5) coconut tree, an infimitely valuable natural resource in the tourism industry as the major composition of the local environment which has been a uniquely outstanding seaside tourism destination.

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