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18 Apr, 2014

UNESCO launches Specialist Guides Training for Historic Sukhothai and Heritage Cities

BANGKOK, 16 April 2014, UNESCO Bangkok Press Release – The historic town of Sukhothai, one of Thailand’s most prominent UNESCO World Heritage Sites, will soon get its own training programme for specialist guides.

The UNESCO Cultural Heritage Specialist Training Programme focuses on training local guides as a way of contributing to local livelihoods and involving members of the community in safeguarding their cultural heritage.  The guides produced through the programme will help enhance visitors’ experiences and educate tourists about conservation issues.

On 21 April, UNESCO Bangkok Director Gwang-Jo Kim and Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA) Director-General Nalikatibhag Sangsnit will officially launch the programme at a ceremony in Sukhothai.

Initiated in 2005, the training programme has proven successful in other World Heritage sites across Asia, including Lao PDR; Macao SAR, China; and Viet Nam.

The Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns World Heritage Site, consisting of Sukhothai, Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet, were inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1991 in recognition of their Outstanding Universal Value

UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Specialist Training Programme has been recognized for excellence in training guides as well as creating local economic opportunities and contributing to the long-term sustainability of World Heritage Sites.

The Cultural Heritage Specialist Training Programme was singled out for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)’s Gold Awards in 2007, in recognition of “exceptional achievement” and setting “industry standards for excellence and innovation, serving as examples for others to follow.”

The training in the Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns will take place in 2014 and 2015. If proven successful, similar efforts could be rolled out to improve services at the Kingdom’s other World Heritage sites.