Naklua has a lot of work to do before it can be considered a prime ecotourism destination, according to the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration.
The historic fishing village and marketplace scored just 36 percent on a Ministry of Tourism and Sports survey of 168 communities in eight tourism development areas. That was only good enough for a “C” rating from DASTA, its lowest designation.
A Level A ecotourism destination must score at least 80 percent on the survey, which grades product quality, service and promotion. A Level B destination rates at least 50 percent on the survey.
Pattaya spokesman Pinit Maneerat said Naklua has the potential to reach Level A, but must do a lot more work to solve its problems before it can truly be a showcase fishing village and marketplace.
Pattaya’s bedroom community long has had aspirations of being a tourist spot and, according to the survey, has a strong identity and illustrates the daily lives of fishermen, farmers and traders well. It also has a modest calendar of tourism spots and events, such as the mangrove forest at the Nok Yang Canal, the Kong Khao Fair and Naklua Eat and Walk.
But Naklua’s many environmental problems and paltry marketing worked against the community. On the tourism front, Naklua must develop tour services, communication, and souvenirs as well build lists of target tourists.
On the environmental front, its natural resources have been destroyed by pollution and overuse, with garbage piling up on roadsides, sewage pouring into the sea and overfishing emptying out local waters.
While Pattaya has tried to reduce the problems, there has been little progress. In fact, Naklua’s lack of controls on tourism and population have made some problems worse, the survey said.
Pinit said city hall is dedicated to making Naklua a Level A ecotourism destination, but success will take the cooperation of residents and businesses working with the government.