Connect with us

Thai Life

SPECIAL REPORT: Saving paradise by setting limits

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

SPECIAL REPORT: Saving paradise by setting limits | The Thaiger

By Piyaporn Wongruang

Maya Bay has finally been closed down. On Thursday, park rangers at Had Nopparat Tara-Mu Ko Phi Phi marine national park placed buoys demarcating a no-access zone to prevent tourist boats getting in, as a part of a long-term rehabilitation process for the park’s world-renowned Maya Bay.

The bay was made famous by the 2000 Hollywood film “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but has subsequently been ecologically degraded by the excessive number of tourists – a daily average of about 4,000 people and 200 boats.

Following a recommendation by marine experts, the National Parks Department decided to put the bay off-limits from yesterday until September 30.

The closure is seen as an entry point for a new approach to tourism management at the park, and would also set a new standard for another 26 Thai marine parks that also bear a similar burden, according to the department.

Maya Bay is just another story of a timely rescue of the country’s natural attractions before it is too late.

SPECIAL REPORT: Saving paradise by setting limits | News by The Thaiger

For years, national parks around the country have seen an influx of visitors who wish to enjoy nature, with resulting tourism-based pressures degrading their often sensitive ecosystems.

In a bid to cope with such the building threat posed by these pressures, the department has come up with measures to ensure that national parks nationwide, 131 in total, can respond effectively to tourism impacts.

The concept of “Green National Parks” has been introduced to guide tourism management in the parks, with trophies set to reward good practitioners, and at the same time hopefully to lead ultimately to sustainable tourism that is kept within the ecological carrying capacity of these precious idylls.

“If a number of tourists visit our places, but they are later damaged, we should consider that a failure of our national park mission. We would be successful only when our places are still in a good condition despite their intensive visits. It really much depends on management,” said Songtham Suksawang, a director of the department’s National Parks Office.

SPECIAL REPORT: Saving paradise by setting limits | News by The ThaigerKhao Sok National Park won an award last year along with other 14 parks for being “green national parks”

More park function

Since the first national park, Khao Yai, was declared nearly 60 years ago, national parks have always aimed to help preserve the natural values of the ecosystems of the country’s forests.

As explained by the department’s deputy chief, Jongklai Worapongsathorn, the department’s prime mission when it was first separated from the Royal Forestry Department as an independent department in 2002 was to take care of national parks, seen as the core areas of the country’s ecosystems.

Since then, tourism in national parks has been left largely unattended, with management following the park chief’s capacities and directives. Areas were zoned to aid in better management and boundaries of the heavily used recreational areas determined using better criteria.

The number of tourists visiting the parks were already a concern and some pilot projects to limit tourist access were introduced, along with measures to keep the parks clean and more environmental friendly such as a ban on foam-based food packages and actions to reduce energy use among others.

The department studied the carrying capacity of the parks, and the issue took on more importance over the years, though limits were not initially imposed. Over the past decade, those limits have been phased in for some popular national parks, including Khao Yai.

“I, myself, also did not think that one day we would get serious about this,” said Jongklai to national park chiefs attending a recent workshop to guide green national park practices for 2018. “We have seen more and more of an influx of tourists during a particular period, such as the New Year, but I think in the near future we will have to enforce limits on access to national parks regularly and popularly, as we have seen happen at some popular parks, be they Phi Phi, Similan and others.

“If we don’t adjust ourselves now (to handle tourists), we will never be able to catch up on the trend,” said Jongklai.

Influx of tourists

As recorded by the Tourism Department, tourist visits to national parks have increased over the past five years from around 11 million to 18 million last year – over half of them foreigners.

Tourism is a key driver of the country’s economy, with the income contributing nearly Bt2.9 trillion last year, according to the department.This year, it is expected that around Bt3.3 trillion will be contributed by tourism.

Tourism has also driven the country’s competitiveness to the rank of 34 out of 136 countries, the department has noted. But when environmental aspects are factored in, that ranking falls to 122, with micro dust, intensive environmental damage and threats to plant and wildlife species being the prime problems pulling the country down in rank.

Concerned parties all agree that national parks play a vital role in drawing tourists, and that role has been increasing over the years. The question is how to make it sustainable.

“The role of our national parks in tourism will never decrease, but will instead increase as more and more foreign tourists increasingly appreciate our nature and visit parks to experience it,” said Prommeth Nathomthong, a deputy director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

“From a tourism aspect, [the national parks] are vital tools to help drive our economy. … The question is how to make them sustainable, keep them in the good condition they are supposed to be in,” said Prommeth. He suggests that the concept of sustainable tourism should guide the tourism management of the parks.

SPECIAL REPORT: Saving paradise by setting limits | News by The Thaiger

Green National Parks

Sustainable tourism is clearly addressed in the 20-year national strategy, with carrying capacity being part of the strategy to help drive the country’s competitiveness and sustainable growth.

The National Parks department has adopted the concept and improved the guidelines to be followed by national parks in an effort to empower them to respond to tourism pressures.

Six areas of environmental management, and 17 related measures, have been introduced to national parks nationwide as a guideline for managing tourism and its impacts within their boundaries. The six areas are: environmental management of park offices, environmental and landscape management of the parks, saving energy, waste disposal, tourist facilities and safety.

In 2016 the department began giving out a yearly award to those completing the guidelines to it was the first year that the department gave an award to those completing the guideline. Eight national parks won the award first year, with 14 more earning it in 2017.

The department expects that in the next eight years, all the national parks will complete the guidelines and thus adhere to an international standard of practice.

“Our national parks are green by nature, but they will be not if disturbed – and now they are disturbed by tourism activities. That’s the reason why we have to have the green concept to help guide us to sustainable practices. Or our resources, coral reefs for instance, will be irreparably damaged,” said Songtham.

And addressing the problems head-on this way will not add yet another burden to the parks, he concluded.

Original report HERE.



Looking to jettison some items before jetsetting away or chartering a yacht? Look no further than Thaiger Classifieds where you can find and post items, work, property and more for free.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Thai Life

2019: It’s all about you

The Thaiger

Published

on

2019: It’s all about you | The Thaiger

2019 comes with all sorts of expectations – a new beginning, a renaissance, a rebirth. You may be looking ahead for individual tweaks and improvements or perhaps you want to change something altogether.

From cutting out chocolate to saturated fats, many will look at altering their figure. Thanks to numerous technological advancements and greater accessibility to overseas travel, you may wish to combine a procedure with a foreign Holiday.

From Bali to Bangkok, you can now experience similar standards of care with significantly reduced prices across a variety of invasive and non-invasive treatments, for example CoolSculpting, Hair Transplant, Face lift or a Tummy Tuck.

What better way to relax and recover after your procedure in some of the world’s most exotic locations and whether basking on a beach or recuperating in a stunning resort setting nearby, combining your health and beauty with a unique holiday is just what the doctor ordered. 

No need to worry about the standard of healthcare as it is precisely the same if not better than back home. You will get treated in exemplary medical facilities and clinics which offer state of the art diagnostic equipment and dedicated bilingual nurses. The opportunity to be pampered as a part of an inexpensive procedure is an undeniable bonus.  

medical.thethaiger.com offer patients a one-stop platform to help you plan the perfect medical tourism experience. They have partnered with a host of JCI-accredited facilities where you can expect nothing but the finest treatment as well as top-quality cosmetic procedures.

Continue Reading

Bangkok

Bangkok Airways celebrates the arrival of its 40th aircraft

The Thaiger

Published

on

Bangkok Airways celebrates the arrival of its 40th aircraft | The Thaiger

Bangkok Airways has welcome the latest Airbus A319 as the local airline’s 40th aircraft when it arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The event was led by Dechit Chareonwong, vice president of Flight Operations and joined by Nijjapat Piyapant, vice president of Ground Operations.

This aircraft type, the latest incarnation of the short-haul A320, consists of 144 economy class seats and will serve popular domestic and international routes such as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Samui, Krabi, Myanmar (Yangon, Mandalay), Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh), India (Mumbai) and Vietnam (Danang).

The airline is adding Vietnaese city of Cam Ranh as a new route starting January 25.

Currently, Bangkok Airways’ fleet consists of 4 ATR 72-500s, 11 ATR 72-600s, 16 Airbus A319s and 9 Airbus A320s.

Bangkok Airways celebrates the arrival of its 40th aircraft | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

Southeast Asia

Top 10 countries in Asia – DataLeads report

The Thaiger

Published

on

Top 10 countries in Asia – DataLeads report | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Travelience

“Japan is ranked the best country in Asia and fifth globally. Thailand ranks 27th globally”

DataLeads reports that a survey conducted in 80 countries shows that Japan and Australia are the only Asia-Pacific countries that features in the top 10 best countries of the world.

The ranking of countries is measured through factors like entrepreneurship, openness to business, adventure, citizenship and overall quality of life.

The survey evaluated 80 countries across 24 rankings drawn from a survey of more than 21,000 global citizens measuring 75 dimensions that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment.

Japan is ranked the best country in Asia and fifth globally. Australia also features in the top ten list of best countries of the world. It is ranked seventh globally and second in Asia. It has scored well on indicators like entrepreneurship, being open for business and cultural influence.

Top 10 countries in Asia - DataLeads report | News by The Thaiger

Singapore, the bustling city-island, is ranked 16 globally and third in Asia. The country has high GDP along with a low unemployment rate. However the increasing population has given rise to concerns of income equality and rising cost of living.With world’s second largest economy after the US, China is ranked 20 globally and is the fourth best country to live in Asia. Although the country has a booming economy there are concerns like the substantial level of rising pollution in the country that affects the quality of life.

South Korea is ranked 22 globally and is the fifth best country in Asia. The country has witnessed a steady growth and has reduced poverty significantly. It is the world’s seventh-largest exporter and 11th-largest economy overall.India is ranked 25 globally and is the sixth best country in Asia.

It is followed by Thailand that is ranked 27 globally and seventh in Asia.Malaysia is ranked 34 globally and is eighth best country in Asia. The country has “gone a long way toward reducing poverty, moving the share of households living below the poverty line from more than 50 per cent in the 1960s to less than 1 percent in 2015”.

Malaysia is followed by Indonesia (41), Vietnam (44) and Philippines (49).Sri Lanka is ranked 51 globally and is the 12th best country in the region. Health standards and literacy are high in the country although poverty remains a concern. It is followed by Myanmar (63) and Pakistan (74).

SOURCES: DataLEADS, Asia News Network

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required

Trending