Officials in eastern Thailand scramble to save tree from tourists

Photo by TAT Trat Facebook.

Officials in eastern Thailand are scrambling to save a lone tree on a tiny islet off Trat province from tourist destruction. The islet is only a few metres wide, with nothing on it except the tree and its roots. The director of maintenance at Koh Mak Tambon Administrative Organisation, Lertrob Saithongpu, said the wee little islet can only handle 5 tourists at a time, but some tourists have gone in bigger groups than this.

The rowdy groups have now damaged the tree on their expeditions to take selfies while climbing it. Some branches have been broken off, and its big root above the rock appeared to have to been repeatedly stomped on. Officials said the tree trunk also appeared to be tilting more than it did a few years ago before the spot became a tourist destination.

Now, the TAO plans to study how to restrict the number of tourists allowed to visit the tree, and only let them come during certain seasons. He said the TAO would also launch a campaign to educate tourists to help conserve the tree. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has also gotten involved. TAT’s Trat office held a meeting today, and posted in Thai #SaveIslandSellingLaughs on its Facebook page, along with several other posts about the tree.

The islet has been called the ‘island selling laughs’ due to its similarities to scenes from a Thai comic book. Tourists began rampaging the island after one tourist posted about the similarities on Facebook. TAT made a later post about the comic the islet is said to resemble.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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