Cable car project causes concerns of potential overcrowding at Phu Kradueng

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Concerns have been voiced by the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation over potential overcrowding at Phu Kradueng National Park in Loei, as a result of plans to revive a long-debated cable car project.

The foundation, while assured that modern construction techniques can minimise environmental and wildlife disruption, is apprehensive about the park’s capacity to handle an influx of tourists.

Ornyupa Sangkamarn, the foundation’s secretary-general, questioned the authorities’ plans for managing tourism in a way that wouldn’t disturb the park’s wildlife and delicate ecosystem. She highlighted the common issues faced by many parks, including waste management during peak tourist periods.

“The attractions in Phu Kradueng are spread out, and it’s not easy to move from one point to another. How can we be sure there won’t be any additional projects after the cable car?”

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Ornyupa also queried whether the park, currently open to tourists for eight months of the year, would extend its accessibility to accommodate the cable car project. Ornyupa maintained that the foundation would keep a close watch on the undertaking, particularly the environmental impact assessment study, which she claimed often fell short of accurately reflecting the real conditions of the area in past projects.

The Phu Kradueng cable car project came under renewed focus following a mobile Cabinet meeting on December 4, which gave preliminary agreement to a design project aimed at enhancing travel convenience for tourists and boosting Loei’s tourism industry. The project, estimated to cost 800 million baht, is anticipated to surge the number of visitors to between 10,000 and 20,000 per day.

Revenue and design study

In the fiscal year 2022, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) reported entrance fees totalling 21,109,995 baht from Phu Kradueng visitors. Currently, the park’s capacity is limited to 2,000 visitors per day, reported Bangkok Post.

The DNP recently authorised the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA) to carry out a feasibility study in the park.

Office Minister of the PM, Puangpet Chunlaiad, stated yesterday, December 5, that the cable car project, proposed by Loei province, received preliminary approval from the Cabinet. Puangpet revealed that 28 million baht were sought for the design study to be used in the upcoming EIA study, adding that the project aims to boost tourism income in response to locals’ demands.

The design study is expected to take about three months.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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