Tour operators to get marine park quotas

Tour operators to get marine park quotas

A bird’s-eye view of Haew Narok Waterfall at Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima. (Photo courtesy of Khao Yai National Park)
A bird’s-eye view of Haew Narok Waterfall at Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima. (Photo courtesy of Khao Yai National Park)

Prospects for the reopening of marine national parks look promising after the Environment Minister noted that local tourism operators will be given quotas for how many visitors can visit each park.

“The Environment Ministry has come up with a ‘new normal’ policy to help local communities benefit from the lucrative tourism business at marine sites,” Varawut Silpa-archa said in a speech on Monday commemorating World Ocean Day.

“The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is going to provide the quotas to locally owned companies first in a bid to support local communities,” Mr Varawut said.

He was concerned that local communities have failed to benefit from marine tourism, saying the ministry has set goals to rectify the issue.

Mr Varawut noted he has worked with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to find a “proper model” that enables local communities to run their tourism businesses or even compete against big companies and foreign investors.

The ministry is going to announce "new normal" measures for visitors of national parks on Friday, he said.

The use of the Thai Chana mobile app’s check-in and check-out feature at national parks to limit visitors is expected to also be announced.

In addition, Dechen Tsering, regional director and Asia-Pacific representative of the United Nations Environment Programme, praised the government’s effort and commitment to tackle the issue of debris at marine sites under the Asean Framework of Action on Marine Debris.

He noted that the kingdom earlier this year launched a campaign and enlisted volunteers to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, one of many types of debris that ends up in the ocean.

The ministry is drafting a new law to end the manufacturing of single-use plastic bags. The government has set a target to recycle plastic waste by 2030.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources yesterday showcased some of the technologies that will be used to manage marine resources.

Among the newer technologies were a drone that can explore ocean depths and monitor corals and marine species and a robot programmed to collect rubbish in rivers.


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