Assessing potential sites for marine ecotourism in Chumphon Province, Thailand
Keywords:Chumphon, Pinnacles, Ecotourism, Potential zones, Thailand
The process of enhancing marine ecotourism through zoning arrangement is an effective strategy for reducing pressures on major dive sites. This study had assessed the potential of marine ecotourism development at some coral reefs on non-popular islands and underwater pinnacles in Chumphon province, Thailand. Field surveys were conducted at 65 coral communities in the Mu Ko Chumphon Marine National Park. Ko Ngam Noi, Hin Lak Ngam, Ko Thalu and Hin Pae exhibited very good potential for ecotourism development, while five sites, i.e. Ko Matwai Noi, Ko Chorakhe, Hin Haeng, Hin Thong Wo and Hin Phum assessed as good potential. The ANOVA analysis of a study site grouped in seven zones showed identified significant differences between zones but not differences between non-popular islands and underwater pinnacles. This study provides an assessment methodology and identifies coral reefs in non-popular islands and underwater pinnacles that can be promoted as ecotourism sites.
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