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Officials confirm three islands off Phuket’s east coast remain open to tours

PHUKET: Following a number of concerns being raised with The Phuket News that tourists were still being taken to three islands off the east coast of Phuket which they believed had been closed to tours, officials have today (July 1) confirmed that the islands are still open for tourism but with restricted areas of activities.

By Chanida Summast

Friday 1 July 2016, 05:51PM

Suchart Rattanareangsri, Director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Phuket office said, “Tourist can continue their water activities at Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai and Koh Khai Nui but only in the areas set out by our department. However, their activities shouldn’t not have any impact on the coral reefs.

“We haven’t closed the three islands yet, but we are monitoring tourists’ activities and have advised tour companies to promote better marine tourism,” he said.

In May, Thai newspaper Thairat quoted Sakda Wicheinsil Deputy Director of the DMCR as saying that officials will monitoring the situation from June-August, and if it gets any worse then the three islands will be closed.

Meanwhile, Nares Choophueng, a fisheries expert from the DMCR added, “We have posted signs to let tourists and tour operators know what they can and cannot do while visiting these islands, and we will continue working to enforce the rules.

If any tourists our tour operators fail to adhere to these rules, the maximum penalty they will face is up to one year in prison, a fine of up to B100,000 or both,” he said.

“The areas within the large orange buoys are designated areas for boats to moor and drop off tourists so they can partake in their activities. Tourists can snorkel within the buoys which have been placed in areas away from the reefs.

“Next month we will put more buoys out to protect more of the reefs” Mr Nares added.

On May 25, marine officials banned tourist activities at coral reefs near three islands off Phuket’s east coast to prevent further damage to corals at the popular tour sites.

They have ordered the removal of facilities and structures used for tourist activities from all three of the islands which are all located a handful of kilometres from Phuket. (See story here.)



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Kurt | 04 July 2016 - 14:09:03

Very funny.
First thai authorities did allow illegal building structures on these islands ( no one believes the authorities didn't know the existence of the buildings without any proper documents).
And now, out of the blue they start waving papers with promising prison time and fines.
Great priority!
How about thinking first about environmental toilet units?

So, tours may go on. 
But i...

Ed Sanders | 04 July 2016 - 11:10:11

Come on everyone, this is just another example of mismanagement of natural resources by Thai officials.  They just don't get it, nor do they care what anyone thinks...just keep the baht flowing.  And if the Chinese tourists are taking a dump right off shore... the result is pretty much the all ends up in the ocean anyway.  All over Phuket...especially west coast beaches... flush it a...

Andy | 04 July 2016 - 11:03:29

The photo is Kai Nui and is recent because of the new sign at the front instructing among other items that anchors are not allowed. I was there a week ago and a tour boat turned up and guess what? Yes, they used an anchor.
The restaurant has been ordered to close and vacate which will not help the coral but hey, it leaves the place free for the new "owner" who I predict will ha...

zib | 04 July 2016 - 10:10:25

Last time i was at koh khai nok. About 2 weeks ago. The line to the toilets was so long chinese tourists took dumps in the water just 2m from shore. 

Scudman | 02 July 2016 - 19:01:16

Great.  Now it will be 3X as crowded as before.  Did anyone consider putting a limit on the number of tourists allowed per day?  It won't be long before these 3 islands are closed due  to damage from tourists as well.  Then what will you do Phuket?

Bigaresort | 02 July 2016 - 07:30:34

Do you have to pay a fee to set foot on the island?

Bigaresort | 01 July 2016 - 19:28:00

Ok,this 3 islands are history,somthing has go!Is anyone for this 3 islands in charge? Because I was ask to pay entrance fee last time I stopped.
IS THIS LEGAL? I do expect an answere or is this to much asked?


Asterix | 01 July 2016 - 18:48:28

Is it an old picture?
Because the restaurant in the back of the picture is on a rocky islet inside the marine park (Public land) and definitely without a chanote and legal documents for the construction.

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