This article aimed to strengthen community participation for cultural tourism. The authors highlighted 3 cultural World Heritages in Thailand including Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns, Ayutthaya Historical Park, and Ban Chiang Archaeological Site. The mix-methodology was adopted. 1,120 samples were interviewed individually. Then, in-depth interview guideline and participant observation checklist were applied. Data was analyzed by using descriptive statistics and content analysis. Two crucial results were presented:
First, socio-demographic background of the target community was revealed. The target residents were mostly poor farmers, low income labors, in debt, and low education. Nonetheless, they had distinctive cultural identity. The communities had tourist attraction spots and yearly tourist activities. However, they had different standard level of community products. Those surrounding Sukothai and Srisatchanalai Cultural World Heritage Sites were able to rival the national standard. The Kamphaeng Phet struggled with unpreparedness. Limitations included low quality community products, insufficient basic infrastructure, and no systematic management. The Ayutthaya Historical Park was surrounded by migrated labors working in factories and service sectors nearby. The Ban Chiang Archaeological Site were facing the greatest difficulties. However, having a strong family and clan network allowed them to preserve their cultural identity. Second, five tourist routes based on 6 major categories of local wisdom were designed using Geographical Social Information Maps (GSIMs). To bring cultural tourism from below, it was crucial 1) to increase community participation within cultural preservation process; and 2) to carry on research and development for creative cultural innovations.
Keywords: Participatory Cultural Tourism, Cultural World Heritage, Creative Cultural Innovation, Geographical Social Information Maps (GSIMs)