The move comes after the island was named the best beach on earth in the Top 100 Beaches on Earth by the UK’s World Beach Guide. The governor announced plans aimed at developing sustainable tourism with minimal impact on the island’s environment.
The sudden influx of tourists on the island, stretching just 2.4 square kilometres in the Andaman Sea, has sparked widespread concern that the island could suffer severe damage. This month, the number of tourists to the island surged from 300 to 2,000 a day. Therefore, a permanent management team under the national park will be established to manage and preserve the island, Kajornsak said.
The team, headed by the chief of Hat Chao Mai National Park, will oversee the orderly docking of boats, diving activities, and garbage/waste disposal on the island. It will cover all aspects of environmental management, including rotating diving and snorkelling zones to preserve coral reefs. The team will also manage the number of tourists, though no details of a tourist quota were given, Nation Thailand reported.
The governor plans to use an 8 million baht budget granted by Andaman provinces to build a sustainable tourism centre for visitors to access accommodation, food and other services. Local diving operators are also organising trips to collect garbage from the seabed, examine coral reefs, and bid for a world record involving 700-800 expert divers.
Koh Kradan, located in Hat Chao Mai National Park just 10 kilometres from the mainland, is famous for its pristine white sands and coral reefs teeming with marine life. However, from June 1 to September 30, the National Park Department will close Koh Kradan and neighbouring Koh Chuak, Koh Waen, and Koh Muk for four months of annual rehabilitation during the monsoon. The tourism season will resume from October 1 to May 31.
Tourism operators in Trang province have submitted a letter to the National Parks Department asking it to keep the islands open all year round. With the development plans, Koh Kradan is set to become a major tourism destination while preserving its stunning beauty.
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