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The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), Digital Traveler ~ Asia Pacific eNewsletter, December 2005


Ecotourism Training Center (ETC)

The Ecotourism Training Center (ETC) is a long-term tsunami recovery project focused on
providing immediate employment and vocational career training to young adults in Thailand.
Many of the current students lost everything to the waves including homes, jobs, and in many
cases family members and providers. The ETC program trains young people for a career in
environmental tourism through courses in English, computer skills, and nature tour leadership.

Reid Ridgway, ETC’s Managing Director, and his Swiss partner Pascal Hernikat have connected
the program with a huge list of outside resources – including land-based nature tour companies,
scientific and environmental agencies, hospitals and safety experts, retail and merchandising
specialists, hospitality experts, media professionals, graphic artists, tour booking agencies, the
diving industry, retail and merchandising experts and leadership and management trainers – in
order to expose the students to a broad range of related industries and bridge their new skill sets
to employment opportunities when they graduate from the 9 month program.

After the tsunami, Reid and his friends started doing emergency relief work in Khao Lak, and
calling to family and friends to help. Initially they were working in the camps giving emergency
supplies, but after 3 weeks they decided to create a long-term rehabilitation program to employ
people and to get them out of the camps. And they came up with ETC: When their livelihoods are
closely connected to the environment, people feel connected to the environment, and the stronger
the ties they can feel with the environment, the better they understand the need to protect it.

The first class of ETC students was chosen through a number of interviews with many young men
and women as well as with the heads of relief camps. Through their training program in specific
and related skills in the field of ecotourism, the students have also acquired knowledge of
business management and marketing, as well as the natural environment which is their product. In
December 2005, near the 1 year anniversary of the tsunami disaster, ETC will release
documentary films produced by their students to showcase their amazing undertaking and the
spectacular natural environment that they call home.

Currently ETC is almost entirely funded through contributions from concerned individuals who
support ETC’s cause. In order to continue its projects and maintain/increase its staff persons,
however, ETC needs to secure a larger funding source. If your organization is interested in
providing financial support for ETC, please contact ETC at admin@etcth.org.

The ETC website also lists other ways for you to help:
- Donate money to help ETC purchase the items urgently needed. ETC’s bank information
is provided at the bottom of the page.
- Make a one-time donation or sign up to contribute US$10 per month/US$25 per month
for one year.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), Digital Traveler ~ Asia Pacific eNewsletter, December 2005

- Purchase ETC’s documentary video “Rising Tide” for US$40.

- Provide a full scholarship (US$2500) for an ETC student’s 9-month training courses.

For more details, please see


Ecotourism Training Center (ETC)

67/7 Soi Had Baan Bang Niang, Moo #5, Pechakacem Road
Tamboon Khuk Khak, Amphur Takuapa, Phang Nga Province, 82190 Thailand
Email: reid@etcth.org
Website: www.etcth.org

NOTE: We would like to thank Jason Rolan, Voluntourism and Systems Director of North By
North East (NXNE) (TIES Sponsor member), for providing information on ETC. This article is
partly based on an interview that Jason had with Reid Ridgway, Director of the Ecotourism
Training Center, which is featured in the November issue of NXNE newsletter. For more
information on NXNE and to access the newsletter, please go to www.north-by-north-east.com

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