Not everyone is happy with the closure of Thailand’s National Park hot spots

PHOTO: Sunrise Divers

Nature happy. Tour operators unhappy. The closure, albeit temporary, of several of Thailand’s favourite marine national parks and coastal sites, is not universally supported. As the country’s tourist growth plateaus, the baht remains strong and hungry tour operators battle for the same tourist dollar, having many of the most popular attractions struck off their tour list is causing pain for their bottomline.

  • Maya Bay closed indefinitely
  • Similan and Surin islands in the Andaman Seaclosed for monsoon
  • Samae San islandNavy closure with no date for re-opening

Additionally some wet and windy days will be deemed unattractive or unsafe for tour boats to operate making the situation even more difficult and unpredictable. Local tour operators are complaining that random information and closure dates, and reopening dates, put them at a disadvantage as they try and secure bookings at this time.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Phuriwat Limthavornrat, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, says that the authorities appear to close down these favourite tour destinations without any thought for the tour businesses and the tourists that are inconvenienced.

“Even though many operators agree with closing marine national parks, they would like authorities to notify them of the duration of the closure and how the places will be restored during the period.”

“The government should inform related tourism organisations in advance, instead of making abrupt announcements.”

While some of the National Park and beach closures may affect tourism, diving operators say the measures have so far had little impact on the diving business, thanks to plenty of beaches and dive spots elsewhere in the country.

Nivach Rungruangkanokkul, owner of DiveDD, said the ban may not affect scuba diving, but snorkelling and skin diving groups normally go into the water near beaches and these activities can damage the ecosystem because of participants’ lack of awareness or if they panic underwater, according to the Bangkok Post.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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