Park fee hike postponed
BANGKOK, 10 September 2012: Following complaints from tour operators, the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation decided to postpone admission fee increases at 29 popular national parks from 1 October to 1 Janaury 2013.
After tour operators raised a hue-and-cry following the announcement to raise entrace fees by 150%, the Association of Thai Travel Agents as well as Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association submitted letters to the DNP as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment demand a review.
They complained that not enough advanced notice was given and that the department should have explained why it needed to make such hefty increases.
ATTA also filed complaints to the Minsitry of Tourism and Sports and the Standing Committee on the Tourism and Sports of the House of Representatives.
ATTA secretary-general, Charoen Wangananont told TTR Weekly after the meeting with Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Preecha Rengsomboonsuk: “The Minsiter understands the tour operators’ point and agreed to postpone the rise…The hiked fees are not reasonable and our fees would then be far more expensive than other parks in the region. Also, the private sector should be included in discussions when fee raises are on the table.”
Despite the request by tour operators that the DNP postpone the rise until October next year when new contracts begin, DNP gave them until just 1 Janaury 2013.
However, a reliable source at the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said another postponement might follow after further discussions.
The national park announcement came at very short notice, 20 August, to come into effect 1 October, which was not enough time for tour operators to renegotiate rates with overseas partners that include in packages the cost of national park fees.
The new fees were posed at top-ranked national parks such as Khao Yai, Inthanon, Erawan, Doi Suthep-Pui, Huai Nam Dang, Mu Ko Surin and Mu Ko Similan. Fees will be Bt100 for a Thai (Bt50, for a child) and Bt500 for a foreigner (Bt300 for a child).
Since December 2007, Thai visitors have paid Bt40 at the listed national parks except for Mu Ko Surin and Mu Ko Similan which costs Bt80.
Foreigners paid Bt200 except for Mu Ko Surin, Mu Ko Similan, Pha Hom Pok, Inthanon, Thung Salaeng Luang, Phu Kradung, Khao Yai, Lanta and Hat Noppharatthara-Mu Ko Phi Phi that charged Bt400 per entry