Park visits double over festive period
The number of visitors to national parks during this New Year holiday period is expected to be double that of last year, said Manoepat Huamuangkaew, director general of National Parks, Wildlife and Conservation Department.
The most popular national parks this holiday season are Khao Yai, followed by Erawan and Doi Inthanon. About 70 per cent of the country's 148 national parks have reported 580,000 visitors, mostly Thais, to the parks between December 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013, compared with 440,924 in 2012.
When the remaining parks report their visitor numbers, the figure is expected to rise to double last year's number.
The department placed limits on visitor numbers and set up service zones for tourists so as to minimise the impact on the environment and wild animals over the busy holiday period. A centre was set up in each national park to ensure the safety of the tourists and their belongings.
The department plans more facilities in the parks next year, including public toilets and parking spaces, in response to the rising number of visitors, Manoepat said.
The department's website, www.dnp.go.th, reported that in the 2012 Budget Year (October 2011September 2012) 9.9 million tourists visited national parks. April (1,492,376 visits) was the most popular month, followed by January (1,328,034), December (1,245,551), March (908,655) and August (740,634). The most popular national park was Khao Yai, followed by Namtok Phliu, Mu Koh Chang, Namtok Chet Sao Noi and Doi Inthanon.