The challenge of implementing sustainable tourism policy: a 360-degree assessment of Thailand's “7 Greens sustainable tourism policy”

Kaewta Muangasame, Robert Douglas McKercher

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


It is relatively easy to write sustainable tourism policies, but much harder to implement them. This paper examines the implementation of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's award winning “7 Greens” sustainable tourism policy, announced in 2008, and piloted on the mature destination island of Koh Samui from 2012 onwards, as well as in three other areas. 7 Greens seeks to engage all stakeholders directly and indirectly involved in tourism to work collaboratively for the development of a more sustainable sector. The Tourism Authority feels the Samui pilot case has been successful, but the lead author, adopting a 360-degree survey method, found stakeholders were much more equivocal about the project. The study showed strong in-principle support, but little effective buy-in and even less willingness to take a leadership role. Stakeholders also identified a number of weaknesses in the policy that they felt limited its utility, including a lack of clear objectives, failure to define terms, lack of collaboration between government departments, conflicts between local and national politics, crony capitalism and short-termism, together with the failure to identify measurable metrics and to implement clear evaluation procedures. The paper puts forward several possible ways to improve future implementation programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-516
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • collaboration issues
  • green tourism
  • policy implementation
  • sustainable tourism policy
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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