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The lead joint-agency law-enforcement task force for Phuket is considering regulating the number of tourists permitted to visit the islands around Phuket for environmental and safety concerns.
The news was announced following the conclusion of the monthly closed-door meeting of the Thailand Marine Enforcement Coordinating Center Area 3 (THAI-MECC3) committee, held at the Royal Phuket City Hotel in Phuket Town this afternoon (Sept 21).
“We are concerned about the volume of tourists visiting the islands around Phuket,” said Vice-Admiral Sayan Prasongsamrej, Commander of the Royal Thai Navy’s Third Area.
“A large number of tourists travel to these islands, so there should be better regulation of how many tourists visit each island,” he explained.
“This is not just for the sake of tourism businesses; we are worried about the environmental impact as well.”
V/Adm Sayan also pointed out that having more tourists joining island tours around Phuket heightened the need for more emergency services to cater to the growing number of people who need them.
“We have to recognize that we have already spent the budget allocated for tourist rescue services for 2016, and we’re still in 2015,” he said.
However, V/Adm Sayan assured that the move to regulate the number of tourists may not be for some time yet.
“We do not have any official plans just yet,” he said. “A plan like this involves many different government departments, including the Phuket Marine Office, among others.”
Phuket Marine Office Chief Phuriphat Teerakulpisut, who was present at the meeting, declined to give his opinion about whether or not regulating the number of tourists visiting islands off Phuket was a good idea.