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Tourist spots, national parks face quotas

Tourist spots, national parks face quotas

BANGKOK: Visitors to national parks must now make reservations before entering and the number of visitors to beaches and tourist hotspots is also to be limited, officials announced.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 6 June 2020, 09:04AM

Visitors stroll along Bang Saen beach in Chon Buri province which opened on Monday after closing for two months to prevent Covid-19 transmission. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

Visitors stroll along Bang Saen beach in Chon Buri province which opened on Monday after closing for two months to prevent Covid-19 transmission. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

A walk in the park? Just sign here...

Visitors to national parks must now make reservations before entering, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment says.

Parks are expected to be opened before the end of the month but visitors who usually can just walk in, must now register.

"Online reservations will be required for health reasons," Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said.

The government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) is expected to lift many remaining lockdown measures next Friday (June 12).

All Covid-19 vulnerable sites including concert events, pubs and karaoke shops, massage parlours, amusement parks and national parks are expected to be reopened.

Mr Varawut said the same restrictions need to be in place at parks to help visitors to follow social distancing policies.

"By next week, we are going to have an announcement of what visitors should do and should not do while visiting the parks," he said.

"One of the certain measures is that visitors must make a reservation first. They cannot just walk in."

He said the Department of National Parks (DNP) will use a sophisticated reservation system to control the number of park visitors.

He said national parks have high visitor rates, citing the number of people at Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai province on 30 Dec 2018 as being recorded at 20,469, according to DNP figures.

Apart of introducing the reservation policy, the minister said the DNP must require visitors to check in via the "Thai Chana" mobile application.

"I understand that there will be problem at the early stage of implementation so we are going to have a hotline to provide help and information for those who are in need," he said.

He said the reservation and check-in system is likely to be implemented until the Covid-19 pandemic is under control.

However, Mr Varawut said the DNP will consider using both measures in the long run in a bid to keep the number of park visitors at an optimal level, so the ecological system will not be strained.

He said the two-month lockdown during the Covid-19 crisis has allowed time for ecology in national parks to recover. The ministry is also considering new land zoning plans for national parks. Each national park will have zoning regulations based on public accessibility.

Tourist spots face quotas

Oak Maedow Phuket

In a separate development, the Department of Health (DOH) announced it will push for measures to curb the number of visitors to tourist spots to prevent a new surge in Covid-19 transmission as the government considers allowing the resumption of more businesses and activities ahead of schedule.

DOH director-general Panpimol Wipulakorn said that even though some restrictions on domestic travel have been relaxed, travellers should adopt "new normal" practices and maintain social distancing and safety precautions such as wearing masks and regular handwashing wherever they go.

For the next phase of lockdown easing, it may be necessary to issue measures to curb the number of visitors to tourist spots, similar to limiting the number of people going to shopping malls, Dr Panpimol said.

She added that local organisations should also come up with measures to control the number of visitors to beaches in their respective provinces to prevent overcrowding. Tourists and workers in the service industry should also be required to wear masks while on the beaches, Dr Panpimol said.

Enough hand sanitisers should also be provided for beach-goers while toilets and bathrooms on beachfronts should be cleaned every two hours, she said, adding that visitors must check in and out at beaches so they can be traced, among other measures.

Dr Panpimol said the department has been monitoring every phase of relaxation and found that while people continue to wash their hands regularly, they are tending to wear face masks in public places less.

She also said movie-goers are not prohibited from eating popcorn and soft drinks in cinemas, but they have been urged to take precautions and wear masks all the time.

More restrictions to be lifted

Meanwhile, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Friday that some businesses and activities will be allowed to reopen ahead of schedule in the final phase of the relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown if they can give assurances that they have plans to prevent virus transmission.

Dr Taweesilp said that the CCSA has regularly discussed the fourth and final phase of relaxation for businesses and activities that are in the red or high-risk category such as pubs and bars.

The spokesman quoted Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is the CCSA’s director, as saying that any businesses and activities that come up with plans to prevent transmissions may be permitted to reopen ahead of the next stage of relaxation which will effectively lead to a complete reopening of the country.

However, such plans have to be approved by the CCSA’s business resumption committee first, Dr Taweesilp said.

The committee is headed by National Security Council secretary-general Somsak Roongsita.

The government plans to completely lift the lockdown on all businesses and activities on July 1 across the country. This includes lifting inter-provincial travel restrictions as well as ending the emergency decree and curfew.

The emergency decree, which was invoked on March 26 to deal with Covid-19, will end in June, and the ban on international travel would end at the same time it is lifted.

The CCSA on Friday reported one new case of Covid-19 infection, an asymptomatic returnee from Kuwait who tested positive just before leaving quarantine. There were no new deaths.

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Kurt | 07 June 2020 - 15:47:03

There are also 'sea national parks'. Is Phi phi  and surrounding a National Park? YES, one has to buy a ticket while landing at Phi phi.  So, How are bookings to work at Chalong-, and other piers for these Sea National Parks?

CaptainJack69 | 07 June 2020 - 13:19:10

The TAT is telling us that we will be relying on domestic tourism for the foreseeable future and reassuring us that they are taking steps to promote it. Now we are being told that not only our beaches, but now our national parks will be heavily restricted. Why would anyone come to Phuket then?

Kurt | 07 June 2020 - 12:12:45

Out of the blue: Now movie-goers are not prohibited drinking cola, eating popcorn.  Than why was that prohibitance than published a few days ago? Thai are making so many rules now, it is completely growing over their heads. They completely loose control to manage it in a sensible way. Not yet speaking about contradicting each other. What a paper tiger mess.

Kurt | 07 June 2020 - 11:37:08

Foreigners are treated negative discriminatory with Nat. Parks entrance fees, they at least should now given 'priority lane booking' when they book. We want to be fair, yes? Anyway, not many will book with the Thai 'advised' applications. All thai registration apps are unprotected. Unknown you give away all your internet doings. Just sign these paper lists at entrance doors. 

Porites | 07 June 2020 - 11:10:33

@SEC2 and @LALALA unfortunately we live in a world were most citizens believe the crap from the fear mongering media and governments. Instead of using their functioning brain and common sense, the obey blindly, believe and follow what is put out there. It seems that the majority is Intellectual wasted and to lethargic to change ut they forgot the our personal freedom always came with price to pay 

Hermann1 | 07 June 2020 - 10:07:29

Speaking of national parks.Maybe now is a good time to change the entrance fees for foreigner.More than 10 times for foreigner isn;t a good sign to welcome tourists in the future. Tourists don't want the "Orwell" crap or inequality.

SEC2 | 07 June 2020 - 07:13:57

I agree. I wouldn't download the app. It's a bad idea.I was just saying, if you want to download an app, you got to make sure it's secure. Having some kid at the mall put it on your phone isn't secure. Apple/Google store give apps a certain level of security. And if you use it, take off your banking apps. You are handing all your personal info to complete strangers. Conspiracy? No ...

LALALA | 06 June 2020 - 18:46:49

Governments all around the world are implementing this sh.. . And it is to stay... but hey, we are all conspiracy theorists, aren't we ? and to SEC2... i would not download it even if its on the apple or google store nor when the pope or who else would recommend me to do so...people need to wake up.

SEC2 | 06 June 2020 - 16:36:18

My brother told me NEVER add an app to your phone unless you can get it from the Apple store or the Google Store.  It is not secure if you download it from a website.  Thai Chana is not on the Apple Store.   Come on guys.

Kurt | 06 June 2020 - 12:49:50

Wow is this a approach to tracking/check systems of Phuket beaches as well? Is that why Phuket beaches still closed? I just ask, prior perhaps instalment, to warn Phuket provincial government that this will not contribute to bring back foreign tourists to Phuket. No 'Orwell' crap!

Porites | 06 June 2020 - 10:48:15

But you don't need a tracking app to be sustainable and regulate access to NPs. This is utter nonsense, especially can some please explain to me why the app needs access to the media on my device. 

Porites | 06 June 2020 - 10:43:27

Generally the idea of restricted access or shall I write limited access for NP or Marineparks is a good thing. We saw plenty of times the consequences of overwhelming tourists floods and their impact around the Andaman Sea. Thailand would do really great on sustainable tourism and for all the capitalists nay sayers, yes it possible to make some descent profit and be sustainable the industry. 

LALALA | 06 June 2020 - 10:05:32

Another interesting statement is that they consider the use of tracking / check in systems in the long run...even after covid is over. To protect the ecological system...of course. Another excuse to implement more control and tracking systems on the population.

LALALA | 06 June 2020 - 09:33:18

Dr Panipol is lliving where ?..... toilets and washing facilities at the beach ? Not many of them in LOS if any at all. Wearing a face mask while at the beach...LOL. Gives a nice tan though. Tracking Apps when visiting a park, maybe at the beach also ? LOL..complete morons.


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