September 25, 2023
BANGKOK – Tourists have been racing to Sri Thep since the ancient city in Phetchabun province was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site, but local residents have been caught off guard by the influx and services for visitors remain minimal.
“It’s truly unfortunate that the local community couldn’t catch up in time, resulting in no facilities or services to benefit from the significant influx of tourists,” Phetchabun Governor Wison Kositanont wrote on Facebook.
Wison was one of the key figures who pushed for Sri Thep’s addition to the heritage site list.
Visitors are flocking to Sri Thep for holidays, and it is likely that this trend will continue, he said, adding: “This is one of the reasons why Phetchabun province urgently needs to establish a community-driven tourist service centre.”
“The centre will showcase products, food, souvenirs, various amenities, local guides, and tour services related to the ancient city of Sri Thep, in order to generate income for the local communities,” he added.
Wison said the tourist service centre should be constructed outside Sri Thep World Heritage Site since income-generating activities cannot be conducted within it.
Si Thep is the fourth site in Thailand to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The first was the Ban Chiang Archaeological Site in Udon Thani, which was added to the list in 1992. Si Thep was added to the list in the cultural category.