Connect with us


Opinion: Funding national parks will lead to long-term results



Assistant Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat, 49, is a member of the National Reform Council and a professor at Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries. He has a doctorate in Marine Science from James Cook University, Australia and is currently a writer, ichthyologist and an environmental activist.

Here he talks about finding a balance between tourism and preserving the environment at national parks along the Andaman Sea.

PHUKET: The reality is that money is the first thing that we need to resolve this problem. Limiting tourist numbers would help curtail negative effects on the environment, but at this stage it would also reduce our income. So, how do we earn money in an appropriate manner?

It is true many problems have arisen from tourists coming to national parks with bad effects on coral and other marine life. However, as I see it, numbers are not the problem.

If the masses visiting the parks do not destroy marine life, there would not be a problem.

For example, there is no law on how many people can visit Phi Phi, so now the total number of tourists has increased to more than one million a year. If we limit the total to, for example, 300,000 people, where would the rest go?

If only 100 people are allowed to enter per day and they destroy the coral by dropping anchors on them, would it not be better for 1,000 or 10,000 people to come in and not destroy anything? That is the key idea.

Therefore working on changing tourists’ attitudes and officers’ ability to enforce the law are the two key points and in order to tackle them we have to get much needed funds.

National parks, particularly Phi Phi, have very little to work with. They do not have enough officials, boats, or equipment to enforce the law.

Just like any other career, if officials receive enough money to support themselves, then they will love and better focus on their job. However, if they don’t have enough money, they will focus on ways to find the money to support their families rather than their responsibilities.

National parks have laws in place to protect the environment, but they don’t have enough officials or transportation to enforce the law.

For example, Phi Phi National Park’s entrance fee should add up to more than 400 million baht a year. If it receives this amount, Phi Phi would have enough money to more effectively protect the environment and stringently enforce the law.

We brought the issue to Cabinet and the Prime Minister to approve a change in how park fees are collected.

We suggested that fees are paid directly to the central DNP office in Bangkok, similar to the system established by Thai Ticket Major.

By doing this, we can ensure that all fees are being collected properly. Also, the DNP can better regulate the number of tourists visiting certain fragile ecosystems in national parks.

Local national park officers will still be sent out to check that tourists have bought tickets, but will not be permitted to sell tickets.

When we have money, we can add more officials and patrol boats. So sea patrol would be more effective. No tourist boats would be able to drop anchor on coral reefs, discharge waste and get away with many other illegal, detrimental activities, if officials are there waiting to charge them.

It’s only after these measures are implemented that we could look for long-term solutions.

— Kongleaphy Keam


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Drugs3 mins ago

Man returns for bag with meth pills he left at restaurant

Transport35 mins ago

Porsche sales in Thailand roaring thanks to nation’s entrepreneurs

Visa38 mins ago

Overstay crackdown uses facial recognition tech

Sponsored5 hours ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Thailand2 hours ago

Father dies trying to save son from teenage gang

Songkhla2 hours ago

Railway bomb kills three in southern Thailand

Thailand2 hours ago

Restaurant in Japan urges Thai tourists to flush tissues down the toilet

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

Frenchman arrested for scamming Thai woman out of 2 million baht in Bangkok

Thailand3 hours ago

CAAT warns Thai VietJet for cancelling three Phuket – Bangkok flights in one day

Entertainment4 hours ago

VIDEO: Harry and Meghan haters out in full force ahead of Netflix series

Crime4 hours ago

VIDEO: Policeman fined 500 baht for blocking ambulance in northeast Thailand

Weather5 hours ago

Flood warning for 11 southern provinces

Thailand6 hours ago

Apple plans to move production out of China and into Thailand | GMT

Crime20 hours ago

Everything stolen from Danish man’s 3 homes on Koh Samui

Vietnam21 hours ago

Thai Vietjet resumes Bangkok-Da Lat flights after 3-year break

Chon Buri21 hours ago

A mother and baby escape blaze in Chon Buri with severe burns

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11