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Court rules that National Park can limit numbers to Similan Islands

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The Similan Islands national park will now be able to limit the number of visitors as a means to prevent ongoing environmental damage. This decision from the Supreme Administrative Court this week, overturning an earlier ruling from the Phuket Administrative Court.

The Similan Islands are a popular diving spot in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Khao Lak.

The ruling reverses an order of the local provincial Court last year which said a plan to limit numbers by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, was not legal.

Last October the Department announced plans to put a tourist ceiling of 3,325 tourists and 525 divers per day into the national park and that visitors couldn’t stay overnight.

Tour operators petitioned the Phuket Provincial Court to annul the limitations as it would severely affect their businesses. In December the Phuket Provincial Court issued an injunction against the visitor limitations but the Department appealed the ruling.

Now the Supreme Administrative Court has declared that tour operators were unable to present valid arguments against the Department’s attempts to curb visitor numbers and their efforts to protect the island archipelago against further degradation.

The higher court was critical of the Phuket Administrative Court’s ruling saying that its ruling would have led to ‘severe damage’.

Limiting tourist numbers at many of the Andaman’s tourist hot-spots has become a part of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation legal weaponry since closing down Maya Bay, but is facing a lot of pressure from local tour operators.

Court rules that National Park can limit numbers to Similan Islands | News by Thaiger

 

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