Peder Jorgensen was on Monday night 27 September 2010 – his 75 year birthday – awarded Friends of Thailand by Tourism Authority of Thailand. The Danish former missionary in the Central and North East of Thailand was the only Scandinavian given this award in the category as an outstanding individual. The award is given every second year to honor and express appreciation to Thailand’s international friends for their continued contribution to the development of tourism in Thailand and played a significant role in promoting Thailand and contributed to the wider popularity of the destination in the international community.
Peder Jorgensen’s contribution to tourism consists mainly of the many group tours he has guided for readers of various newspapers in Denmark over the years. These tours included, however, also invariably a visit to one or more of the projects, which he and his wife Ruth were involved with as missionaries in the Central and the Northeasters region of Thailand. The couple established and managed from 1984 to 1995 a home in Piboon Mangsahan north of Ubonratchathani for the most talented children among the poorest families living in the rural districts outside the city so they could continue their schooling beyond the basic six years primary school.
Prior to that, the couple worked from 1962 to 1971 in Nongbua in Nakonsawan and later Manorom in the central Thailand where Peder worked with rehabilitation of leprosy patients while Ruth worked as a midwife at the Christian hospital.
Today, Peder and Ruth are retired and live in Isenvad just outside Ikast in Denmark where Peder occupies himself with historical research into the life of the Danish individuals who in the past lived and worked in Thailand. Recently, he collected around 2 mill baht to be used to repair and maintain the hostel in Piboon Mangsahan.
More Scandinavians awarded
Several other Scandinavians were given other Friends of Thailand awards at the mega ceremony held in Centara Grand in Bangkok.
Bravo Tours A/S of Denmark was given the award for its many tour programs arranged in Thailand. The most popular destination includes Hua Hin, Ko Chang, and Ko Samui. Also, Bravo Tour has offered a golf program to Thailand which has been publicized through newspapers, magazines, and TV. Next, Bravo will offer a special longstay program in Hua Hin.
Lomamatkat Ltd of Finland was given given the award for bringing approx. 2.000 tourists to Thailand yearly. The agent has considered Thailand top be very important as well as the favourite destination among Finnish travellers.
Vulkanresor / Thailand Tours, IATA certified, is the first tour operator that has organized their own direct charter flights from six cities in the northern region of Sweden to Thailand. Although they faced the financial crisis which in 2009/2010 forced them to fly with Thai Airways International, Vulkanresor / Thailand Tours has kept up the volume of tourists at 2.600 tourists annually.
In the category of Media, Mr. Martti Sarvojarvi, Editor in Chief of the Finnish Ikkunapaaikka – Window Seat Travel Trade Magazine was awarded the Friends of Thailand award.
Also Mr. Erik Stenfors of ResFlex Travel Trade Journal was awarded in this category.
Thailand a republic?
In the catalog published by TAT listing the names of all the people who over the years have been recipients of the award for supporting the Kingdom of Thailand – Denmark was listed as “Denmark Republic”. With its focus on Thailand as a Kingdom, it is surprising that TAT does not know that Denmark is the oldest continuous monarchy in Europe.
But as one of the participants in the award ceremony noticed “as long as it was not the Tourism Authority of Denmark who named Thailand a republic, I don’t think there is much harm done..”