World Tourism Day: IUCN and Marriott Hotels collaborate to raise awareness on sustainable seafood

In celebration of World Tourism Day on 27th September 2017, JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa together with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Marriott Thailand Business Council will host a showcase of their award winning Sustainable Tourism Practices.

The highlight of the event, to be held at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa in Mai Khao district, will be a unique black crab dish that will be served for dinner on World Tourism Day itself to raise awareness about sustainable seafood. The crabs used in this specially-prepared dish are sustainably sourced from the Pu Dam community as they are wild caught from Klong Au Ta Pao mangrove forest, located 5km from JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa. The crabs – only those bigger than 150 grams – are caught using low impact gear and boats without engines. 

A man checks a trap with several crabs in it

Marriott has been purchasing black crabs and other sustainable seafood from the Pu Dam community since 2014.

“We take great care and effort when it comes to where our fish and seafood is sourced from, and we always choose sustainable options. We believe in doing our bit for the environment, and also want to support and improve the livelihoods of coastal-resources dependent communities,” said Chef Dietmar Spitzer, Executive Chef for JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa.

The World Tourism Day event will also include an “Ancient Wild” black crab cooking class, where guests will learn how to make authentic Phuket dishes with Tanasub Trisub AKA Chef Tham, a local chef, alongside handicraft activities at the Mai Khao Women’s Community Group Bracelet project.

The event will also feature other unique sustainable tourism initiatives such as the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation Shelter and Education Center, a local non-governmental organization and IUCN Member organization. There will also be a premiere screening of “Black Crab Community”, a short documentary film produced and directed by social impact film director Mr. Alan Compton.

Phuket Governor Noraphat Plodthong, directors from Tourism Authority of Thailand, local media, representativesfrom IUCN and the Pu Dam community will be at the resort to celebrate the special day.

The importance of sustainable seafood is picking up real momentum as the world’s fisheries are in great danger of collapsing due to overfishing. Increasing demand for seafood and advances in technology have led to overfishing practices, causing species to become endangered, as well as intensive and poorly regulated aquaculture, which directly impacts nearby ecosystems. Purchasing and consuming sustainable seafood is a fundamental step in protecting our oceans and ensuring that future generations can still rely on fisheries in the future. 

IUCN and Marriott have been in partnership since 2013, and have worked together to protect the environment and support Thailand’s local communities through mangrove restoration, the use of sustainable seafood sources and local procurement practices in Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Rayong. To date, the partnership has restored over 16 hectares of mangrove forests, purchased over 5.5 million Baht worth of sustainable seafood and handicraft from local communities and contributed to improving the livelihoods of over 70 families.  Over 9 million Baht has also been raised through the dollars for deeds programme to support conservation activities implemented by IUCN. 

The partnership contributes to achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, SDG Goal 14 on conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources, and SDG Goal 17 on global partnership for sustainable development.

“In order for sustainable development to work, all sectors of society need to work together. This partnership truly embodies just that as we have the private sector - represented by international hotel chain Marriott, the local communities - represented by the Pu Dam community and the public sector - represented by IUCN, working together towards a common goal of protecting our oceans,” said Petch Manopawitr, Thailand Programme Coordinator and Deputy, Indo-Burma Group, IUCN.

The Pu Dam community, where black crabs are sourced for JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa restaurants, was previously supported by Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a regional grant-making facility spanning 11 countries across Asia and the Indian Ocean. With MFF’s support, capacity-building programmes on community waste management and coastal resource management were launched and mangrove areas were restored as part of a community reforestation initiative.  

Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 3,800 properties in 72 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $12 billion in fiscal year 2012. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at, and for the latest company news, visit

Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a partnership-based regional initiative which promotes investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development. MFF focuses on the role that healthy, well-managed coastal ecosystems play in building the resilience of ecosystem-dependent coastal communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. The initiative uses mangroves as a flagship ecosystem, but MFF is inclusive of all types of coastal ecosystem, such as coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, sea grasses and wetlands. MFF is co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP, and is funded by Danida, Norad, and Sida and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Thailand.  

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