ThailandThe number of visitors to the island is now capped at 3,325 per day, and the number of divers at 525.

Similan Islands reopen — but tour staff unaware of visitor limit

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A total of 1,203 people were booked to visit Similan Islands during Wednesday’s crush.
A total of 1,203 people were booked to visit Similan Islands during Wednesday’s crush. Photo Credit: para827/GettyImages

The number of visitors to the islands has now been capped at 3,325 per day, and the number of divers at 525. On top of that, visitors to the islands now have to purchase a ticket to enter the area. However, according to a report on Bangkok Post, when the islands were open for business once again on Wednesday, many tour staff were caught unaware, causing many tourists to be stranded at the ticketing office.

By now, it is routine for Thailand’s Similan Islands to close for five months, which allows the area to recover from tourist numbers. When the islands were opened to tourists once again earlier this week, chaos ensued at the ticketing office.

The number of visitors to the islands has now been capped at 3,325 per day, and the number of divers at 525. On top of that, visitors to the islands now have to purchase a ticket to enter the area. However, according to a report on Bangkok Post, when the islands were open for business once again on Wednesday, many tour staff were caught unaware, causing many tourists to be stranded at the ticketing office.

What was supposed to happen is this: queue cards were issued to tour staff who were buying tickets for their customers. To obtain the tickets, they are required to present copies of their customers’ ID cards or passports. The staff must also fill out the details of their companies and pay boat fees for entrance to the Similan Islands. The names of visitors on board the boats must also be listed in full.

However, the authorities found that most tour staff did not understand the process, and some failed to produce the required papers to the officers. Part of the confusion came from the fact that many tourists had to switch boats on their way to the island.

Similan national park chief Ruamsin Manajongprasert then clarified that boats that malfunction on their way to or back from the island are permitted to offload their passengers to another vessel. He also urged tour companies to study the entry limits to the island, which are designed to prevent damage to the marine environment.

He added that a total of 1,203 people were booked to visit Similan Islands during Wednesday’s crush.


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