Govt asks tour operators in Andaman coast to open their minds

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The government has asked tour operators in the Andaman Coast to open their mind, after demanding authorities reduce the entrance fees for foreign visitors to the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park in Krabi province by half.

Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd disclosed that the tour and boat operators rallied to demand that entrance fees to the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park in Krabi province be cut from 400 baht to 200 baht for foreign adults, claiming they were affected by the reduced number of tourists.

On Monday, 27 February, the Protected Area Committee (PAC) attended a meeting to consider the petition, before submitting the conclusion to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation for consideration within 20 days, he said.

Initially, officials understand the operators’ needs but asked them to open their minds and consider the reasons behind the current fee, which has been fixed for 10 consecutive years and adds that the current fee was not the result of a recent price hike, said the PMO spokesman.

He noted that the income drop among boat operators was caused by an increasing number of operators. The situation forced them to compete for customers, and resulted in less revenue for each operator.

He went on to say that the number of foreign visitors was actually increasing, according to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation’s data.

The government does not ignore the issue and has assigned the Krabi Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports to hold a meeting to solve the tourism problems in Krabi and control the volume of tourists to preserve natural resources, he said.

Moreover, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has said that tourists do not have any problems with paying the fee. However, it is unknown from where they got this last bit of information, as the overwhelming amount of social media input from foreign residents and tourists decries the high prices charged at national parks compared to the Thai price. (NNT)