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Phi Phi Islands become highest earning national park in Thailand

Maya Bay Phi Phi islands
Entrance to Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh

It’s arguably already Thailand’s most famous national park, now Krabi’s Hat Nappharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park has become its highest earning. The star attraction remains Maya Bay although most people visiting the national park will visit other locations and islands in the archipelago.

Annual revenue at the national park has jumped to over 270 million baht, with park chief Ratchanok Paenoi declaring it the top destination among marine national parks.

The park is of course most famous for “the beach”, made famous by the 2000 movie of the same name and otherwise known as Maya Bay. Until recently, the bay attracted thousands of visitors every day, with no control on numbers and untold damage caused to the fragile ecosystem as a result.

In more recent years, officials have introduced a cap on daily visitors and new rules that include a ban on swimming in the bay or boats entering the bay. Visitors can now only set foot on the famous beach after crossing from a specially constructed pier at Loh Samah Bay, at the back of the island. The bay is also closed every year during the low season to allow the ecosystem to rest and recover.

According to Ratchanok, the park generated 276 million baht in entry fees from 1.1 million visitors between October 2022 and last month. This figure represents a substantial increase on the 72.5 million baht generated during the same period last year.

Entry fees collected last month through a new e-ticketing system rose by 46%. Park officials have pumped some of that money back into improving facilities for tourists, including toilet renovations at Maya Bay, the installation of mooring buoys for docking ships, and beach area management.

In related news, Thailand’s Natural Resource and Environment Minister, Phatcharavat Wongsuwan, says five of Thailand’s national marine parks have been included in the 2023 World Beach Guide’s top 100 best beaches in the world. Koh Kradan, in the south of the country, took the top spot.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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