Keep Koh Tachai from 'exploitation'

The increasing popularity of Koh Tachai, situated between the Similan and Surin islands in the Andaman Sea, as a tourist destination has prompted the tourism sector to ask the authorities to ensure it is not spoiled and polluted.


Chotechuang Sooranguara, assistant managing director of NS Travel and Tours, also known as Noom Sao Tours, said on Monday that more tourists wanted to go to Koh Tachai thanks to the push given by the internet and social media.

"Many famous people went to Koh Tachai and took photos there. Tourists become interested in the small island after learning it has few visitors.

"However, the tour packages are expensive because tourists have to travel by plane and boat and their is only limited accommodation," Mr Chotechuang said.

He said the popularity of Koh Tachai, known for its beautiful beaches and dive sites, had already exceeded Samui, Phuket and Lipe islands. Tourists who want to relax in a peaceful setting rather than be entertained see Koh Tachai as unspoiled compared to other popular destinations crowded with visitors and buildings.

The authorities should help protect the ecosystem and the natural environment of Koh Tachai from the very start. They should not just focus on selling it as a destination without any sustainable measures to protect the island, he said.

Kongkrit Hiranyakit, a resort operator on Koh Chang off the Trat coast on the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand, said the average hotel occupancy rate on the island would normally be over 70% during the Songkran festival. The current rate was not as high as anticipated, which he attributed to the volatile political situation.

Mr Kongkrit said tourists were more likely to choose to spend their holidays on Koh Tachai and similar islands than Koh Chang at this time, because travellers tend to want to visit newer places.

Tourism sources said destinations along the east coast of Thailand are now less popular with Thai tourists because they were concerned about the recent oil spills. The quality of the natural environment in these destinations had deteriorated, the sources said.

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