Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has seen an impressive rise in revenue since introducing the e-ticket system for visitors to the Koh Phi Phi archipelago. The entry fees have generated an average of one million baht per day… a total of 137 million baht earned since the system’s introduction last July.
Chief of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi-Phi National Park, Rakchanok Paenoi, revealed that revenue from entry fees has increased by 20-30%, with an average of 4,000 visitors daily since last year.
The e-ticketing system has also gone a long way to prevent previous syphoning of the cash payments around some of the collection gates in the national park.
According to Paenoi, the number of visitors in April alone has surged by 2-3 times compared to the previous year, with tourists from Russia and Europe making up most of the visitors according to their statistics. She expects to see more tourists during this week’s Songkran festival.
Despite this growth in tourism, there are some concerns regarding the e-ticket system, specifically with regard to checking e-tickets in areas with poor telephone signal, or in many spots, none at all. Paenoi hopes that the problem of bad phone signals will be addressed soon but acknowledges that it will probably involve the erection of some sort of additional telecommunications infrastructure amongst the islands.
Additionally, Paenoi acknowledged that the e-tickets cannot be used for tourists who want to travel to other islands such as Ko Phai and Phi-Phi Don, again due to the poor telephone signal.
The head of the department, Atthaphon Charoenchansa, has plans to promote the use of e-tickets for entry fees to all national parks within the next two years.
The closure of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi-Phi National Park for two years during the Covid pandemic has resulted in a positive impact on the environment and ecological system of several of the most visited islands. As an example, Maya Bay has seen the return of several black-tipped coral sharks although recent reports suggest that, since reopening and the visitor numbers starting to reach pre-closure numbers, the shark numbers are starting to dwindle again.
Charoenchansa hopes that the e-ticket system will continue to support the preservation of Thailand’s natural heritage.