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“Koh Lan charter” for visitors set for next year

“Koh Lan charter” for visitors set for next year

Residents of Koh Lan, a popular tourist island off Pattaya, are preparing to draft a set of rules called the “Koh Lan charter” for visitors and businesses to ensure that their way of life and the tourism industry can go hand-in-hand.

Sorasak Thongbongpetch, secretary of the Koh Lan community, said partners and stakeholders have been working with the National Health Commission Office (NHCO) to introduce the planned document.

The Koh Lan charter, which will be based on the country’s “health charter”, is to serve as a binding agreement that sets out plans to promote health and conservation.

The move was spurred by the lack of a management system on the resort island, he said, adding problems stemming from tourism are taking a toll on people’s health and livelihoods.

Tourism growth on the island, which is popular among day-trip travellers from Pattaya, has led to violations of community rights and threatened the island’s ecosystem. These include the unregulated use of public space and the release of untreated wastewater into the sea.

Mr Sorasak said the charter is deemed a better tool than laws, which may affect locals as well as tourism operators.

“We’re hoping to introduce the charter, to which business operators and tourists will be bound so they know what is expected of them,” he said. “This is to maintain the quality of living of [locals] and make [the island] a quality tourist destination.”

Poramet Ngampichet, Pattaya city mayor, said the community had made a proposal for the charter and it will be discussed on Nov 30 with officials and business operators.

The proposal includes rules regarding the management of traffic and public spaces and the use of cleaning products harmful to the environment, he said.

After a conclusion is reached, the charter is expected to be implemented next year, he said.

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