Samui tightens building codes
SAMUI, 7 August 2012: Samui hopes to gain green island status by developing city planning that will limit real estate investments and strictly monitor building use.
Samui Island Municipality mayor, Ramnate Chaikwang told TTR Weekly that the island will raise standards and establish a strict building code on the island linked to use.
“We will establish a city planning map,” said Mr Ramnate. “The goal is to preserve green areas on the island as much as possible and establish building rules to help us achieve the goal,” he added.
He talks about monitoring and controlling investment in new buildings that must have a stated purpose before construction can be approved.
There are also plans to develop more community and agro-tourism on the island to diversify the island’s appeal beyond its beaches.
“We want to develop business ties between hotel and the island’s agricultural sector to encourage purchases directly from local suppliers on the island,” said Mr Ramnate.
How long will it take to reach the objectives and turn Samui into a green island?
“It’s not easy task to change habits and lifestyles so I really cannot tell you when we will be able to call our island green, but I hope it can be done in five years starting with building regulations that can be adhered to more vigorously.”
On restricting or capping hotel investment on the island, he said: “We won’t forbid new investments as most of the beach sites are already taken. It will slow down due to the lack of available beach sites. What we will do is make sure the investor clarifies the purpose of the building so we can approve accordingly.”
According from the data collected by the Samui Island Tourism Coordination Centre, there are 487 hotels on the island offering around 19,000 rooms. It exceeds the current airline capacity to the island, but when ferry transfers are considered then demand and supply are not out of balance
But investors are keen to see more airlines fly to the island to attract more “up-scale visitors to allow them to increase room rates. The ferry services cater mainly to budget travellers.