Houston/Bangkok/Manila: Thai Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa has wanted for decades to give the country’s national parks time to recover from the damage caused by an endless stream of tourists. Covid-19 gave him the chance.
Now, able to see the benefit of giving nature a respite, Varawut is going further. He has decreed that all national parks in Thailand will close for an annual average of three months, beginning in 2021. It’s a bold move to make the nation’s vital tourism industry more sustainable — one that puts him at odds with many businesses in hotspots like Phuket that are being crushed by re-opening delays.