Unruly tourists spark alcohol prohibition at parks
Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa has pledged to blacklist certain groups of tourists from entering national parks across the country if they cannot refrain from causing damage or littering in the protected areas.
Mr Varawut on Saturday wrote on Facebook about reports and complaints about loads of rubbish left by a tourist group at a campsite in the Khao Yai National Park.
The minister also posted about another group of tourists who were allegedly drunk in Namtok Samlan National Park.
"Both actions are considered as showing a lack of conscience, leading to [negative] impacts on natural resources and havoc to people in places [considered] to be national public treasures," he said.
For now, officials from Khao Yai and Namtok Samlan National Parks have filed complaints against the tourists for their wrongdoings, Mr Varawut said.
After the incidents, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) came up with measures to maintain cleanliness in national park areas across the kingdom.
Tourists who want to rent tents and use any camping space in a national park must provide identification, address and phone number in case there's a problem with their stay. All park officials must remind every tourist to only dump their rubbish at designation disposal areas.
If the tourists failed to comply with the new rules, legal action would follow, which could result in tourists being banned from ever entering another national park.
In addition, the consumption of alcoholic drinks at national parks is banned from now on. Loud noises produced after 9pm can be considered as disturbing the peace. Tourists will be asked to leave for defying the rules. Their camping equipment used can also be confiscated.
As the influx of tourists during weekends, nearby police stations will collaborate with park officials to scour protected areas for inspection, Mr Varawut said.