Great toilets make a splash

Stunning toilets at Wat Rong Khun. Photo: Arthur Jones Dionio

Nice toilet facilities are needed not only for answering nature’s call, but they can also ensure tourist sites are flush with success.

To show the link between good toilets and tourism success, the first Toilet Tourism Awards has now given the green sign for entries.

Organised by (MTR), a strategic tourism industry research consultancy, the awards are also expected to raise awareness of United Nations World Toilet Day, which falls every year on Nov 19.

“Good toilets provide a valid reason to stop at a destination,” said MTR co-founder and tourism strategist Bronwyn White, adding that while stopping, some visitors may also have lunch, fill up on petrol, buy supplies and may even spend a night or two in the destinations.

The availability and quality of toilets impacts tourism in both developed and lesser-developed economies.

“Our focus is strictly on the overlap between toilets and tourism. That’s where we can make a positive contribution,” she said.

Public restroom in Chongqing in China. Photo: AP

Toilet Tourism Awards consist of six categories. They are “Overall Winner”, which is the people’s choice award; “Best Tourism Economic Contributor” for when people stop at a toilet in a destination and stay on; “Best Location”, where the toilets have views and may be considered an attraction in themselves; “Best Design” for architectural brilliance in toilets; “Quirkiest Toilet Experience” for the best toilet that is related to local heritage or noteworthy sites; and “Best Accessible Toilet” for those with mobility issues.

Submission is free and open to anyone. Each entry must include a description of the location, design, idea that makes the toilet special, the reason why people stop to use the facilities, plus photos or video.

The last day for submissions is June 15. The winners will be announced at the Travel and Tourism Research Association international conference in Quebec, Canada, on June 22.

The Overall Winner will receive a AU$2,000 (about 52,000 baht) donation contributed to World Toilet Day in their name and a copy of every MTR research publication in 2017 and access to tourism research events. Other category winners will receive the same prizes, minus the donation to World Toilet Day.