The National Parks department of Thailand (DNP) has rescinded their “one-day multi-site ” deal.
The now defunct deal allowed tourists to pay an entry fee at any national park and use the tickets to enter another national park, provided it is all done on the same day of within 24 hours of purchasing the original ticket.
According to the official announcement, the department is cutting the deal due to some unscrupulous tour agents who were “recycling” the tickets to use with multiple groups. I can only assume that most of these agents are based along the west coast area where eco-tourism seems to be a big hit. Ao Phang Nga, Similan and Khao Sok are some of the biggest income-generators for the DNP, frequented by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
Greedy and unscrupulous tour agencies are not a new thing in Phuket and the surrounding provinces, and there are a number of agencies which have gone the extra mile to tarnish their own reputation in the eyes of the local community. I can only assume that the reason the government has not put a complete stop to their activities is the fact that these groups are responsible for funneling millions of dollars into the country’s coffers, albeit taking a healthy slice of the revenue for their own pockets as well.
The decision to axe the deal should not affect birders too much, except for those few who plan to visit Sri Phang Nga and Khao Sok on the same day. We can be thankful that the DNP didn’t decide to jack up the entry fees to other national parks in the region as well.