Mahidol University     |     Webmail     |     RILCA Intranet     |     Contact     ||     EN     |     TH     |           

Research Topic : English Language Learning Materials Development for Communicative English through Community-Based Tourism
Faculty / Program : Dr.Singhanat Nomnian, Associate Professor
Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University
Background and Significance of Research :
Thai government's new economic model called "Thailand 4.0" aims to develop an innovative and value-based economy for the prosperity, security, and sustainability for the nation, suggests the inclusion of CBT approaches. There are barriers to successful CBT, including financial viability (i.e., lack of funding and finance skills), marketing (i.e., little direct marketing to foreign visitors), product development (i.e., non market-ready products), capacity building (i.e., lack of access to markets), and land management/governance (i.e., lack of empowerment of local communities). This study explored the challenges that confront two remote communities in Thailand's second-tier destinations, specifically in relation to their English needs for CBT. The findings show that the communities' linguistic heritage was neglected by all stakeholders in the CBT context. Although the participants from Baan Pha-Mee in Chiang Rai and Baan Kok Muang in Buriram were native speakers of their indigenous languages (i.e., Akha, and E-sarn, respectively), they did not utilize them with foreign tourists at all. Instead, English served as a communication medium and as a lingua franca in CBT. Since most of the village community members do not speak English or the language of international visitors, external stakeholders such as urban-based tour guides and cultural brokers were the ones who acted as liaisons and translators on behalf of the communities. Tourists perceived the community members' linguis-tic and sociocultural identities through the eyes of the tour guides, who could have misinterpreted aspects and delivered inaccurate interpretations. Individual tourists at both villages showed greater interest in engaging with local community members, but this was limited as they usually visited the village without the services of a guide to facilitate communication and translation. While it is possible to create meaning and establish a relationship in a tourism encounter without a common linguistic foundation, the lack of 'direct' self-expression and representation per-petuates unequal power relations in Thai tourism. The findings show that English is not only a means of international communi-cation, but it also represents a source of power through which competent language users such as tour guides, interpreters, and translators have become important repre-sentatives and actors who are valued by other CBT participants, whose lack of English capital denies them such influence. Communicating in English thus enhances eco-nomic, social, and symbolic capital. As Bourdieu's (1991) concepts set out, language users employ various accumulated sociolinguistic resources to serve and meet their needs within particular, situated contexts underpinned by their intricate socioeco-nomic, political, and cultural status. Although CBT communities need to value their own local languages, they must also negotiate their sociolinguistic identities with English to suit the demands of both society and the market in so far as they pertain to the tourism industry. Considering the current COVID-19 global health crisis, the future of tourism might even lead to an increased CBT demand from domestic tour-ists, which would potentially demand the use of more local languages again. To meet SDGs 4 and 8, the development of communicative English skills and ICT initiatives offer positive opportunities for lesser-known tourism attractions and remote communities in second-tier provinces in Thailand by not only promot-ing their socioeconomic status, but also sharing linguistic and cultural values with visitors, particularly foreign tourists. Unlike digitalized urban areas, these local com-munities lack the ICT infrastructure and digital networks that allow them to gain visibility and accessibility for international visitors. The current policy of Thailand 4.0 should introduce measures to improve internet access and the digitalization of tourism that will buttress CBT and the competitiveness of local businesses.
Research Scope/ Area of Studies :
1) Pha Mee Community in Chiang Rai Province
2) Kok Muang Community in Buriram Province
Objectives :
1) To research, develop, and transfer knowledge and innovation of English for Community-Based Tourism
2) To explore communities' needs and attitudes towards English for Community-Based Tourism
3) to guide and suggest ways to develop learning materials of English for Community-Based Tourism
Funding sources : Air Asia and Globish Academy
Affiliation : OTOP Centers, Air Asia and Globish Academy
Interested person : Villagers, community members, local entrepreneurs
Cooperation level : Local and national collaborations
Utilization of Research : Academic references
Web link :
Related SDG Goal :
Illustration :



Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University
999 Budhamonthon Sai 4, Salaya, Budhamonthon, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand. Tel. (662) 8002308-14 Fax. (662) 8002332