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Tourism industry backlash staves off doubling of park entry fees

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Tourism industry backlash staves off doubling of park entry fees | Thaiger

THAILAND: The National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP) has decided to rethink its plans to double the entrance fees to National Parks after coming under fire from tourism businesses.

The DNP had planned to double park entry fees so that foreign children would pay 200 baht, foreign adults 400 baht, Thai children 20 baht and Thai adults 40 baht.

Phuket Tourist Association President Pattanapong Aekwanich, told the Gazette that he disagreed with increasing the National Park fees, in spite of the DNP’s claims that they are short of money.

K. Pattanapong also said that he thought that in some cases entry fees should be decreased, citing Sirinath National Park at Nai Yang as an example. He said that he thought the 200-baht entry fee for foreign adults was already too much as the park’s facilities were not good and there was nothing for tourists to see or do.

“If the prices are too high, tourists will visit other attractions,” he said, explaining that for a couple of hundred baht more, instead of visiting Sirinath National Park tourists could visit Simon Cabaret.

“The fees are already high and if the officers were more strict in collecting them, then the DNP would have enough money. But if the DNP raises its entry fees, tourist businesses will be affected and the burden will be passed on to consumers. This will have a negative effect on tourism,” K. Pattanapong added.

K. Pattanapong’s sentiments were echoed across the bay in Krabi, where Ittirit Kinglek, Chief of the Krabi Tourism Business Association, said, “The government wants to promote tourism, but the DNP wants to increase [National Park entrance] fees, which is the opposite of what tourism businesses in the Andaman region need.

“The current rates are already quite high for tourists and tour agencies. If the price is increased to 400 baht [per foreign adult], it will be harder for tourists to pay and some national parks do not have high-standard accommodation and services. If we increase prices, then we should improve the parks and facilities, too.”

“We have asked for the DNP to rethink the idea. Tourism is still feeling the effects of the tsunami, the World Cup is now on and it is the low season. It is not a good time to raise prices.”

Kridwikrome Kleawkla, Chief Assistant at Sirinath National Park, said, “If the head office thinks prices should be raised, then they must have their reasons.”

“At Sirinath National Park I have to explain to tourists before they decide to enter the park that the facilities have not been fully restored to the standard they were before the tsunami.

“I think the proposed new rates will not affect tourists; they can pay the higher prices, but if we charge ‘international’ prices, then we should improve the park to international standards,” he added.

 

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

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