PAKNAMPRAN/PRANBURI – (December 14), The Prachuab Kirikhan-based shipping company Mermaid Cruises has won the Skål International Award for Sustainable Tourism in the Transportation category. Barry Stone, founder of the Mermaid Company was delighted. “The award recognizes our company’s commitment to the environment. In addition to our electric boats and road vehicles protecting the environment by virtue of being virtually emission-free, we also endeavour to make our customers, staff and local residents aware of the vulnerability of the environment. We don’t simply play at looking green, we are green!”
Barry Stone received the award at a ceremony at the Hua Hin Hills Vineyeard, close to Hua Hin. President Andrew Woods of Skål Thailand handed over the prize together with Michael Schmitt, president of Skål Hua Hin. An earlier prize-giving ceremony took place as part of the Skål world congress aboard the cruise ship Carnival Glory that departed from New York harbour, where the award was handed over to the Thai delegation. Skål is a worldwide organization that brings together leaders from all layers of the hospitality industry. Thailand’s representative on board Scott Smith, the director of Young Skål Thailand, received the award. Thailand receives this Transportation award for the first time.
Founder Barry Stone is a retired professor of linguistics. “Five years ago I decided to build an electrically powered, environmentally friendly boat to cruise along the Pran Buri River. We have also built a second electric riverboat for use in waterway network around the ecologically sensitive area of Amphawa/Samut Songkram. Our latest vessel is a 3-way hybrid coastal catamaran for up to 40 people. The Award for Sustainable Development in Tourism promotes tourism that does not destroy nature. That is exactly what Mermaid Cruises is doing.”
Barry Stone is retired and leaves the running of the business to his Thai wife, Tan. “I have seen many changes over the years”, says Barry. When we started, there were no provisions under Thai law that allowed the legal operation of electric boats or cars. Today, all of our electric boats are legally registered – this required a major shift in policy the Thai Shipping Authority in Prachuab Kirikhan. We also received great assistance from the Mayor of Amphawa, who warmly welcomed our electric riverboat there and even provided us with a special mooring. At the end of the day, though, we cannot do it alone. Mermaid Cruises needs support. This help is coming from the changing attitude of civil servants, a green mayor and, of course, we hope this international award will also help our cause”, Barry concluded.