The national park advisory committee on Tuesday decided to maintain the current entry fee rate charged on foreign tourists at 400 baht for adults and 200 baht for children at Hat Nopparattara- Mu Ko Phi Phi national park.

MrTunyaNetithammakul, director-general of Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, said the advisory committee however recommended that entry fee collection must be transparent and modernized.

It also recommended standard control and the number of tourist boats and the control of the number of tourists visiting national parks.

Earlier, about 500 tourist boat operators staged a protest at Hat Nopparattara- Mu Ko Phi Phi national park to demand a 50 percent cut of entry fee for foreign tourists, claiming that the fee is too high and tends to discourage foreign tourists from visiting the park.

MrTunya said the current entry fee into national parks for foreign tourists has remained unchanged since 2006. Proceeds from the entry fee are allocated to develop facilities in the parks for the benefit of tourists.

He dismissed claim by protesting boat operators that the number of tourists visiting Phi Phi Islands has steadily dropped because of the high entry fee. On the contrary, the number of visitors has increased, but operators are earning less because they are undercutting boat fees among themselves and the number of tour boats has increased from about 500 to about 2,0000.

He added that the department would consult with the Harbour Department about the possibility of controlling the number of tour boats and to improve their standard.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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