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Management of marine national parks for tourism value : a case study of Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park, Thailand

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Nitjanate, Nutcharat 2006 , 'Management of marine national parks for tourism value : a case study of Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park, Thailand', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Marine Protected Areas (MP As) play an important role in meeting conservation,
tourism, and scientific study/education objectives. Most MPAs in Thailand are
established as Marine National Parks (MNPs). This study aims to enhance the
understanding of the benefits and negative impacts of MNPs in terms of economic,
socio-cultural and environmental uses and values, as well as analyse the management
status of Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park (MKCMNP), and the effectiveness of
existing management objectives in relation to tourism. MKCMNP is located in the Gulf
of Thailand. The condition, size and species diversity of its coral reefs are of
international significance, and it attracts more than two hundred thousand visitors per
year who engage in diving and other activities. Visitor management in the park includes
a visitors fee, ferry and boat access, activity management, information centres, zoning
management and visitors' services and facilities~ MKCMNP faces management issues
relating to tourism development, particularly protection of valued natural resources from
over-development by private operators. These issues make achievement of park
management objectives difficult.
Visitor surveys and an interview with a key informant were conducted to provide
information on the effectiveness of tourism management at MKCMNP. Site observation
was also undertaken to gain familiarity with the park and to complement the visitor
survey data. The visitor survey was administered in two languages (Thai and English) to
162 participants, and assessed visitor behaviour, values and attitudes in order to identify
the degree to which existing park management satisfied the needs and expectations of
visitors. The survey of visitor attitudes towards management revealed that the
communication of management approaches by park education materials and
interpretation program are not effective. Visitors perceived that management to achieve
the park management objectives was at least partly successful. The worst performing
objectives were preventing illegal activities and controlling litter and pollution.
The quality of existing visitor facilities should be maintained at the current level, but waste
disposal facilities, visitor information centres and information signs should be increased.
The interview with the park manager was significant for understanding park
management issues related to tourism impacts, sustainable tourism and ecotourism
activities. The park manager revealed that the major management problems of
MKCMNP were garbage and wastewater, and lack of water supply during the summer.
He recommended the four main factors to achieve sustainable tourism development
were: firstly, tourists must take any garbage away with them when they leave. Secondly,
local people must be able to sustain their livelihood from tourism. Thirdly, tourist
activities must not damage natural resources. Finally, co-operation between government
agencies and the private sector must form a significant component of future tourism
development.
Tourism management recommendations were derived from the results to assist the
management agency in better achieving sustainable tourism development. More
effective tourism management will require visitor education and an interpretation
program, waste management strategies and integrated land use planning process. Such
strategies need to match visitor needs with protecting the natural resources. In addition,
to ensure sustainable tourism public participation and co-management approaches
should be incorporated into the management plan.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Nitjanate, Nutcharat
Keywords: Marine parks and reserves, National parks and reserves, Tourism, Nature conservation, Ecotourism
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2005 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MEnvMgt)--University of Tasmania, 2005. Includes bibliographical references

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