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Satun province losing 10 million baht per day in lost tourism revenue as protestors block pier

In an effort to draw attention to the arrest of 24 local fisherman for allegedly trespassing in Tarutao National Park, a group of over 100 local fishermen positioned their boats to block the river leading to Pak Bara Pier in La-ngu district on Wednesday.

Due to the national park’s overlap with commercial fishing zones, protesters claim that last week’s arrests were unfair.

According to Samart Jaroenrit, head of the Satun Tourism Business Association, Pak Bara Pier serves as a gateway to Tarutao National Park and the tourist islands of Ko Lipe, Ko Adang, and Ko Ra Wi.

The mob prevented the boats from docking at the port, leaving more than 700 visitors trapped there, he claimed. Several visitors were compelled to change to speedboats going to Laem Te Ban Pier in order to take a different route to Ko Lipe.

In the meanwhile, he continued, travelers leaving the islands must divert to other ports to reach the mainland in time for their flights.

Samart cited tour companies that had reported cancellations as evidence that the protest was costing the local tourism business 10 million baht a day.

Insisting that a protracted protest would hurt tourism on Satun’s islands during the long holiday weekend for Makha Bucha Day on March 4-6, he pleaded with authorities to intervene and find a swift solution.

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