PMUC inaugurates community-based health tourism route “Fine-tune the Body, Enhance the Mind, Balanced Life” towards commercial application.

**HELLO Nadoon *** Community-based health tourism program titled “Fine-tune the Body, Enhance the Mind, Balanced Life”, in Nadoon District, Maha Sarakham Province, was an effort to develop a model tourism area to be a unique and prominent area in the province for tourism, potentially leading to commercial application to generate income for community enterprises and possible development of an health tourism industry in the province in the future. The tourism route was surveyed in mid February 2022 by a team consisting of Asst. Prof. Supawadee Photiyaraj, chairperson of the Tourism and Creative Economy Program Subcommittee of PMUC, Governor of Maha Sarakam province, Nadoon District Chief, Nadoon Police Superintendent, Chief Executive of the Nadoon Subdistrict Administrative Organization, Maha Sarakham Provincial Tourism Association and others who supported the research project.

The aforementioned travel route came about when Maha Sarakham University received support fro Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) under funding allocation from Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) for conducting research under the “Management of Community Health Tourism in Maha Sarakham Province to Accommodate Quality Tourists” project plan with 35 researchers from 10 departments at Mahasarakham University, including the Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Information Science, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality, Faculty of Accounting and Management, Faculty of Architecture, City Planning and Creative Arts, Faculty of Nursing, Walairukvej Botanical Research Institute, and the Research Institute of Northeastern Arts and Culture. Concurrently cooperation was forged with government network partners, private business sector, civil society and 3 tourism resource owner communities, namely Ban Ko Tha, Ban Dong Noi, Phra That Subdistrict and Nong Khu Subdistrict, Nadoon District, Maha Sarakham Province, to merge knowledge, technology and innovation from academics arena in the universities together with local wisdom and community capitals in the development of tourism related products and services.

The projects within the work plan consist of 2 sub-projects, namely sub-project 1: development of health products and services from local wisdom in  herbal remedies,  and local culture for community-based tourism. The main objective is to promote holistic health in 4 dimensions, namely body, mind, society, and wisdom, thru products and services arising from the local wisdom in 3 distinct seasons. Health products in the beverage category include herbal drink recipes based on 3 seasons, namely Triphala, for the summer season, Trikula for the rainy season, Trisan for the winter season. For the essential oil category, there is the aroma oil recipe with relaxing aroma for 3 seasons from local herbs: Pra Hom, Maha Hong, galangal, kaffir lime, house lemongrass and citronella. Additionally there is a soothing essential oil recipe from frangipani, jasmine and rose. The cosmetic category includes a facial mask recipe using local herbs such as Rang Jued, Thirty Root, and Tumtang for detoxification, moisturizing, and acne treatment. In terms of establishing standards to accommodate tourists, there are facility standards to accommodate the disabled, the elderly and for all people (Tourism For All). Additionally a creative tourism festival called “Isan Doctor” was designed for implementation. And for health services, a three-season health care program was designed (Wellness Program) according to traditional medicine principles to provide health treatment services using traditional methods. This in combination with the concept of balanced co-existence between people and the natural environment, including 5 activities: 1) Check-in & check up. 2) Mind-body wellness and purifying retreat program. 3) Morning physical and mental exercises. 4) Healthy diet based on 3-seasons wisdom. 5) Sustainable health awareness activities.

The second sub-project is a marketing plan for a health tourism concept based on local wisdom related to herbal remedies and local culture to enhance community-based tourism. There has been an integrated health tourism marketing approach to reach the target market,  empowering the people in the community to create story content using digital technology that meets the needs of the target market. Two special groups were targeted, namely the Local & Regional Seekers, who gives importance to recharging themselves, healing the mind and restoring energy and life balance, as well as having a chance to worship the sacred beings. The main attraction for this target group is the local food and activities featuring a wide variety of local materials, tourism activities, festivals and recreational activities. For the Relationship Enhances group, which focuses mostly on the scenic quality of the landscape, there are locations with natural environment for relaxation, which is safe, clean and sanitary. The potential of the community has been developed to present attractive products and services on social media in order to create awareness and create an income channel for community enterprises in all three areas.

Operational areas, including Ban Ko Tha, Ban Dong Noi, Phra That Sub-district, and Nong Khu Sub-district, Nadoon District, have joined together to form a network to develop capabilities in tourism management. Market and cost analysis, as well as operational and management skills have been developed in cooperation with sub-district administrative organizations and partners in both the government and tourism sectors. The integration of tourism and the development of health tourism routes is linked to the Champasri cultural tourism route, and there is a tourism development plan that is in line with the provincial tourism development plan. The development of community-based health tourism with a model tourism area to be a unique and prominent tourist attraction in the province, potentially leading to utilization and expansion through cooperation in tourism management with partners, both within and outside the province in order to develop sustainable tourism management for the future. From this visit to the area to survey the tourism route, it is clear that the Nadoon community is ready to welcome tourists.

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