Parks chief rejects lower Phi Phi entry fee

Parks chief rejects lower Phi Phi entry fee

Tourists disembark from boats on the renowned Maya Bay in Phi Phi Marine National Park. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Tourists disembark from boats on the renowned Maya Bay in Phi Phi Marine National Park. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Boat operators at Phi Phi park claim the high entrance fee is deterring visitors and killing their profits, but the parks chief says there are simply too many boats.

The operators want the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department to bring down the entrance fees to the marine park for foreign adults from 400 to 200 baht and for foreign children from 200 to 100 baht.

The fees came into effect in late 2007. Thai adult visitors are charged 40 baht and children 20 baht to enter the park.  

Parks department director-general Thanya Netithammakun insisted the current fees were suitable for visits to the park.  

He said the department could not accept the demand because doing so would encourage tourism operators in other land and marine parks to make the same request. 

He noted that the income drop among operators of speed boats and long-tailed boats at Phi Phi island and nearby areas was caused by an increasing number of operators. The situation forced them to compete for customers, and resulted in less revenue for each operator.

“I believe the tourists don’t have any problem with paying. Only the [boat] operators at the Hat Nopparat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi Marine National Park have a problem,” Mr Thanya said.  

“The DNP is not concerned about the number of tourists because income is not our main objective. We focus on preserving natural resources in their natural state.” 

Mr Thanya said the admission charge for each national park was based on academic principles to ensure appropriateness for that locality. The DNP had also informed tourism operators months before the new prices came into effect.

Earlier, hundreds of passenger boat operators used their vessels to block an area known locally as Pak Khlong Hang which is the entrance to the pier for the Phi Phi park sites. The protest stopped all boats from passing through the area. 

The group dispersed after Phi Phi park chief Sarayut Tantien promised to forwarded their proposal to the DNP and give feedback within 20 days.

Mr Sarayut said more foreign tourists visited the park every year but the operators felt they had less customers because more boats were also registered each year.

He said there were 248 long-tailed boats and other types registered last year, bringing the current total number of tourist boats in Krabi to 1,871 . 

According to the DNP statistics, Mr Sarayut said, the park was visited by 212,299 foreigners in 2015 and the number soared to 1.3 million last year, generating revenue of 600 million baht, more than five-fold that of 2015.   

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