Before the tsunami, most Andaman Coast communities lived a traditional fishing lifestyle while many young, talented people would leave the region to find work in larger cities. There is very little economic diversity in the area, so as tourism slowly makes its way north from Khao Lak, it presents a real economic opportunity. Unfortunately, this means that the region is being exposed to the threat of large and exploitative tourist developments. There is a danger of local communities being unprepared, both in terms of job skills and cultural resilience that could lead to rapid community and natural degradation. The tsunami brought a great number of changes: entire villages were re-located, livelihoods were impacted, and loved ones lost. Inspiringly, many communities created new opportunities from the loss, especially in the area of community-based tourism. Andaman Discoveries is continuing to make this a reality by reaching out to conscientious travelers, making it possible to have a meaningful village experience through exceptional service and comprehensive support materials.
Through a dedicated network of supporters, volunteers, and donations, NATR successfully implemented over 120 projects in 12 villages by listening to and working with the villagers themselves. All projects have focused on long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability and creating realistic economic opportunities through training and marketing.