Journeys In Culture And Authenticity With HiveSters

HiveSters' CEO, Achiraya Thamparipattra, gives us the how-to and why on sustainable tourism

Achiraya Thamparipattra, co-founder and CEO of social enterprise HiveSters, uses her marketing background to develop something she’s truly passionate about—sustainable tourism. Working on the principle that success isn’t about how much money you make but about the difference you make in people’s lives, she tells Futurist more about HiveSters and giving back to rural communities in Thailand.

When did you start HiveSters? How did it come about?

I grew up in a family travel business and had the opportunity to travel around Thailand from an early age. I was fascinated by the diverse cultures and people across the country. But as I grew older, I noticed much of our cultural heritage was disappearing because of fast-paced urban development and the displacement of local communities.I wanted to do something about our disappearing culture so in 2014 I started HiveSters with Chayanich Thamparipattra.

One reason our cultural heritage is disappearing is that locals don’t earn enough to support themselves by continuing their cultural-based business. New generations choose other occupations, so the cultural traditions aren’t passed on. Entrepreneurship and travel have always been my passion—I wanted to create a business that has impact and that gives back to society, so HiveSters was the perfect fit!

What is the HiveSter goal?

HiveSters’smission is to preserve disappearing culture through sustainable tourism. We work with locals in communities to develop sustainable travel programmes and connect them with quality travellers who want to have unique and rewarding local experiences. In addition to organising trips, we provide consulting and training to organisations and local communities in sustainable travel product development, marketing and cultural preservation.

Could you share two tips for people who want to embrace sustainable tourism?

Many travellers perceive ‘sustainable tourism’ as a fancy phrase that corporations use. However it’s easy to take up sustainable tourism practices. We simply need to make the messages more relatable.

Here are two easy tips to adopt when you travel:

  • Choose locally owned activitiesand accommodation, because that will help spread income directly in the local community. 

  • Cut out single-use plastics when you travel. It will result in cleaner beaches for you to enjoy—and the local marine life will love you for it.

If you operate a tourism business you can also raise awareness of sustainable tourism directly with your customers. For example, at HiveSters our trips begin with a briefing that shares the story of the community, explains how the trip will create impact for locals and help to preserve the disappearing culture of the community, and imparts knowledge about sustainable tourism and its benefits for society. Our customers love to know they are making a difference!

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Our plans are to expand to additional provinces in the next five years and reach more communities and local leaders across Thailand.We’ve created The Hive Academy to develop more sustainable travel products and train local leaders in storytelling, entrepreneurship, trip operation and product development. The academy is funded by re-investing profits from our trips. We also plan to expand our online content to raise awareness of sustainable tourism and cultural preservation. This will enable us to reach beyond Thailand and share our message with people around the world.