A study by a leading university has said that Koh Larn is in crisis and its present infrastructure cannot cope with the amount of tourists currently visiting.
The study – commissioned by the Ministry for Tourism and Sports and done by Silapakorn University – says that the island’s size and facilities should mean that a cap of 6,410 daily should be imposed.
Yet, as Manager reported, there are often 10,000 daily visitors especially on long weekends.
The infrastructure of the island means that litter and lack of fresh water are now in crisis.
Dr Panita Wongmahatlek leading the study told a meeting that her group were recommending a 13 point plan to help solve the island’s problems.
One of the key points was to consider charging tourists, or operators who bring them, a fee to visit the island. The money could then be used for improvements that are vital for the island’s future.
A limit on the number of visitors should be considered and also consideration should be given to allowing the island to restore some of its natural beauty.
This is being effected in places such as Maya Bay in the south of Thailand that has been shut for several months though the group were not proposing that Koh Larn be closed.
The study group said that litter management and the provision of fresh water was paramount.
But they also said that areas like the roads, transport on the island, land rights,accommodation, port facilities and a whole host of public utilities needed improving.
The study was commission at a cost of 10 million baht to examine five Thai islands : Koh Larn, Koh Samet, Koh Koot, Koh Mak and Koh Chang. It was given the brief “Carrying Capacity” meaning what can each island cope with in terms of visitors.
Dr Panita said that all of the above islands had changed out of all recognition in a short period of time due to tourism.
Yesterday’s meeting concentrated on Koh Larn and was chaired by deputy mayor Apichart Weerapan. – Manager Online
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