The Evolution of Paddle Asia
Paddle Asia is a small, intimate tour company that specializes in unique tours with emphasis on being low impact both environmentally and culturally. Too often traveling is a venture into an industrial business with the focus on profits. Our focus is on showing you the best natural settings and allow you to interact with the locals who want both your help and your friendship.
Making money has never been the driving force behind Paddle Asia. It has always taken the back burner. Our philosophy has always been to simply run great trips and let the cards fall as they may. So far, so good... but we want to do more now. We want to give back to the communities where we operate and involve more educational experiences to our guests and our comrades.
Thailand is slipping rapidly into the mass tourism business. However, most of the country is still rural and these lovely people are kind of left 'out of the loop' so to speak. It is here where our hearts lie and it is here where you will get your most memorable travel experiences.
We work with a lot of great companies and they are all in the same boat. They all see the face of tourism changing and not for the better. It is therefore imperative that companies that truly care and the environment and the people of this great Kingdom make changes in their policies to include more locals and to educate everyone whom they encounter on just how crucial it is to protect what is left. The clock is ticking... whether you believe Mr. Gore or not.
Mr. Nick Ascot of North By North East, a pioneering tour operator operating environmentally-sensitive and culturally-compassionate adventures in Northeastern Thailand and all over Laos said this about Paddle Asia:
"Paddle Asia originally only aimed to provide environmentally sustainable nature & wildlife trips, some of which use kayaks for the ease with which they facilitate wildlife viewing. But the experience of meeting people indigenous to these often very dramatic natural settings represents another very important 'take home' guests gain travelling with this small expert
"The founder of Paddle Asia, Mr. Dave Williams (American) is a well-respected environmentalist, and a naturalist of note. PaddleAsia currently serves organizations ranging from IB high schools & Universities (US, Europe, Asia), to US Audubon Societies, and other nature specialty
"Paddle Asia's administrative infrastructure is working to capacity to handle the quickly growing demand for their educational tourism. Paddle Asia wants to grow, but then never want to lose their 'personal touch'."
This was written to try and attract interns to work with us. It is very true that we are all working at full capacity and need some assistance. We want to grow or perhaps more accurately, change into a company that works more closely with the locals to improve their lives and to educate them on the value in conserving their natural surroundings.
The popular phrase eco tourism is rapidly becoming a cliché. Everything from car rallies to ATV tour operators are now touting themselves as being environmentally friendly eco tours. The most annoying/frustrating example that I’ve recently run across is an animal killing tour company that wants to set up a wild animal killing park in Cambodia! They are even calling this an eco tourism activity! You can rest assured that the local villagers won’t see any profit from this, but the government will likely cram loads of ill-gotten money from this sick venture.
Local rural communities often try to set up sustainable ecotourism packages, but the frequently lack the marketing skills to get their message into the right ears. We want to help them. We’re already the biggest supplier for travelers who wish to visit the Ko Yao Noi Homestay Project. This is a very worth-while undertaking that benefits all who are involved. There are many families involved in this program and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is a supporter of this program. The Princess is one of the most well-respected and magnanimous persons on the planet as well as being highly enlightened. We didn’t realize that she supported this organization when we first started helping them, but when we found out we were thrilled. It only strengthened our conviction to pursue this as far as possible.
Along with the Homestay Project, we work closely with the local high school on Ko Yao Noi. They offer activities such as planting mangrove and touring the island with the local school kids as guides. On a recent school trip with High Tech High from San Diego, we helped paint a part of the school and helped come up with English language posters for the students.
Your traveling experience should/could be more than simply you having a good time. You can make it meaningful by contributing to the improvement of the lives of villagers and the environment. There is no need to ration your compassion. Helping the environment DOES help people. Helping people, in other words, can exist many forms.
I met some organic farming entrepreneurs, including Khun Nirat who is the Guru of Bio Diesel in Phuket and he runs a very meaningful farm and gives free lesson to anyone who wants to learn more about bio diesel or organic farming. When I visited the organic farm, Khun Nirat was in the middle of teaching a four-day seminar on bio diesel... completely free of charge.
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