11 July 2024

The decision, by the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, to suspend e-ticketing for tourists visiting six national parks from today is being criticised as untimely and poorly planned.

Many commentators argue that December is the start of the tourism high season in Thailand, both for locals seeking to enjoy cooler air in the country’s national parks and for foreign visitors seeking warmer climes.

One commentator on Facebook expressed frustration at the lack of any warning that e-ticketing would be suspended. The department has, however, promised to provide a refund to those who have already paid through the system.

“Nevertheless, without e-ticketing, both local and foreign tourists will find it difficult to plan their trips to the national parks in advance.”

The department introduced the e-ticketing system in January of this year as a pilot project for visitors to six national parks, namely Phang Nga, Mu Koh Similan, Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi, Khao Yai, Doi Inthanon and Erawan.

The decision to suspend the facility was explained by the department as being necessary ahead of a new bidding process for the e-ticketing system, as the pilot project lasted only one year.

This reasoning has also drawn criticism, with some arguing that the department should have planned and opened the bidding for the new system before the pilot project contract ended.

Furthermore, the department stated that its officials in the national parks have faced challenges in terms of mobile phone and internet signals, preventing them from checking QR codes and the validity of e-tickets presented by visitors.

A Facebook user expressed surprise at this claim, saying, ‘The mobile phone and online signals at those national parks are good enough, particularly when we talk about Khao Yai and Doi Inthanon.’

Many netizens have also raised the concern that, without the e-ticketing system, corruption could occur, as there would be no system to monitor the number of tourists and the cash paid to enter the country’s national parks.