SURAT THANI: The National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) has come up with a plan to support research targeting souvenirs sold in Koh Samui.
Koh Samui is one of the top-tier tourist attractions in the country. In terms of the island’s economy, coconut is considered its main economic crop, with other plants, such as banana, also being a key material for souvenirs.
With this in mind, NRCT executive director Wiparat De-ong said the council has funded two research projects focusing on the island’s souvenir development. One study was conducted by the Faculty of Science and Technology at Thammasat University. The other helped locals with sustainability by creating a Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Centre.
The first study would help lead to better quality souvenirs, she said, while adding to the island’s earnings using scientific and technological knowledge. The second study focused on building a network of souvenir providers on the island, including learning centres that help entrepreneurs display the production process for their souvenirs and exchange knowledge.
The NRCT and its research teams also observed problems which entrepreneurs encounter with product development. Souvenirs which took the interest of researchers included kalamae (a caramel-like sweet) and the question of how to extend its shelf-life packaging; skincare products with coconut, herbal skincare products, and products made from banana fibres, such as handbags, tote bags, and bar soap. The studies aim to boost the island’s economy on the international stage as well as provide a sustainable income to residents.