The DNP announcement, dated October 30, cancelled the planned hike, which was originally due to come into force at the beginning of October. In the face of industry fury that date was moved back to January 1. Now the rises have been scrapped altogether.
The new entrance fees, comprising rises of as much as 150 per cent, would have applied to 29 popular parks in Thailand including, locally, the Surin and Similan islands, darlings of the dive companies, and Hat Noppharatthara-Mu Ko Phi Phi, including iconic Maya Bay.
The DNP said the cancellation would alleviate the burden on the private sector and would support the government’s tourism policy to achieve revenue of B2 trillion in 2015.
Tour operators were furious with the announcement of the fees hike because they had already agreed on contracted prices for winter season tours and in some cases through to October 2013.
There were also suggestions that the DNP lacked transparency over its budget spending and fee collection, and accusing it of poor management.
Apart from giving very little notice to the travel trade, the fee hikes were as high as 150 per cent at some of the most popular parks. This prompted the private sector to call for clear justification on why such big increases were needed. The DNP failed to respond in a way that satisfied the critics.
Last increased on December 1, 2007, the present fees will remain valid until further notice. Thais pay B40 at the listed national parks except for Mu Ko Surin and Mu Ko Similan, which costs B80. Foreigners pay B200 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, where they are charged B400.