Coast site eyed for World Heritage status

Coast site eyed for World Heritage status

Local residents dance on an almost empty Kata beach as Phuket reopens to overseas tourists on July 1, 2021. (Reuters photo)
Local residents dance on an almost empty Kata beach as Phuket reopens to overseas tourists on July 1, 2021. (Reuters photo)

The cabinet approved a plan on Tuesday to propose that a coastal area on the Andaman that already ranks as an approved nature reserve be included on the tentative list of Unesco World Heritage sites.

The suggested site runs through Ranong, Phangnga and Phuket. It also covers six national parks and one mangrove swamp.

The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will make the proposal to the Unesco World Heritage Centre in Paris for consideration on its prestigious list, said Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokesperson.

All relevant documents are expected to be forwarded to the centre by April 15 so they can be presented and discussed at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee around the middle of next year, she said.

If approved, the site should be listed in 2023, she added.

The proposed site represents just over one-third, or 1,159.55 square kilometres, of a 2,980-sq m plot of land. The rest of the plot has been designated as a buffer zone, she said.

When asked why this site was chosen, she listed some of its natural treasures, such as a unique mangrove swamp at Ranong Archipelago National Park that boasts incredible biodiversity and a collection of coastal rock structures and caves.

Laem Son National Park, also in Ranong and also part of the proposed site, serves as a natural hatching and nursing hub for key marine life such as olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), the spokeswoman said.

Moreover, this national park has been declared the world's first biosphere reserve, she noted.

In related news, Ms Traisuree revealed that the cabinet agreed in principle today on a proposal for the Thailand convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) to vie for the right to host three major world events this decade.

They are the 2026 World Flora Expo, the 2029 World Flora Expo and the World Expo 2028. The proposed sites are Udon Thai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Phuket, respectively.

Hosting all three events would require 10.9 billion baht in funding but would generate 100.1 billion baht in income and 20 billion baht in revenue while creating new 230,442 jobs, she said.

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