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Quiet achiever 'greens' Thailand's unsustainable travel industry

Ecotourism pioneer Richard Sandler's resorts show how to reduce numbers

Richard Sandler inspects organic vegetables grown for his guests at his resorts at Khao Sok, in southern Thailand. (Courtesy of Marius Herrmann)

KHAO SOK, Thailand -- "I often ask myself why a kid raised in New York City became a jungle fanatic," says Richard Sandler, a pioneer of ecotourism in Thailand who has been offering benign alternatives to the destructive travel industry for more than half a century.

It is a long way from the concrete and high-rises of Sandler's youth to the sites of some of his Thai projects: the sands of Golden Buddha Beach on Phra Thong Island in the Andaman Sea, the languorous River Kwai in Thailand's west, the soaring cliffs of Khao Sok in the south.

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