The Koh Yao Noi Eco-tourism Club was awarded winner by the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) at the 4th Tourism Industry Contest in the category of “Tourism Industry Contest in the category of “Tourism Promotion and Development”. In January 2003 the Koh Yao Noi tourism program under the partnership with the Bankok based NGO, Responsible Ecological Social Tours Project (REST), won the “Destination Stewardship Award”, from the World Legacy Awards which is jointly sponsored by Conservation International and the National Geographic Traveler magazine.
Koh Yao Noi is an island in Phang-Nga Bay surrounded by 49 other islands. The main occupation is fishing which is for both local consumption and for sale to markets on the mainland. Yao Noi Island has many natural resources both on the land and in the sea, such as coral reef, sea-grass beds, mangroves and beautiful beaches. The way of life is traditional, especially fishing, which uses traps, stationary gill nets, and hook & line.
By 1995, Koh Yao Noi was becoming better known by tourists. This resulted i unsuitable use of natural resources, especially a change in land use by building bungalows for tourists. There was also an increased problem with rubbish and water pollution. Although the villagers had more income, they lacked a plan for using the resources wisely. To conserve the natural resources sustainably, the villager of Hoh Yao Noi have cooperated to form the “Koh Yao Noi Eco-tourism Club”. The Club has allowed the villagers to participate in the management, planning and policies concerning the growth and direction of the tourism on Koh Yao Noi. This participation is required in order to protect the natural resources, local cultures and to ensure the benefits from toursim empoyment and income are more equally distributed amongst the villagers on Koh Yao Noi.