Hua Hin Today had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Nopporn Vuttikul, mayor of Hua Hin. Mr. Nopporn discusses his thoughts on the city’s success, problems that they have faced, and the city future projects that will make the city move forward.
Due to Baht appreciation causing the recession in tourism, what are your short-term and long-term plans to deal with the recession?
Just so you know, Hua Hin is just municipality, yet Baht appreciation is a national issue beyond our duty. However, we do have the short-term and long-term plans in tourism. For the short-term plan, we annually hold the events such as Hua Hin International Jazz Festival and Hua Hin & Cha Am Golf Festival to attract tourists over the low season. The Hua Hin & Cha-Am Golf Festival is a great opportunity for visiting golfers throughout the world to enjoy some real bargains.
In addition, our long-term plan, although there are so many tourist attractions in Hua Hin, they are not enough for us to boost the tourism. Hence, we are going to build a landmark called “Hua Hin Sky Walk Tower” which is a scenic tower and an elevated glass walkway on Hin Lek Fai which overlooks the city.
All Visitors can enjoy panoramic views on the tower and stroll along the elevated glass walkway. Apart from that, there will also be a large “Hua Hin” sign that will be visible from a distance. All in all, the project is approval, and Hua Hin municipality office is now waiting for funds for the construction.
What is your policy to improve safety standards at tourist attraction to regain the confidence of tourists?
“Hua Hin is the home of the King”, where Klai Kang Won Palace, the summer residence of King Rama IX is located, is the strength of Hua Hin City so Hua Hin needs to make sure that all tourists have been prevented crimes and aided in traffic control once they enter Hua Hin area. Hua Hin municipality has now set up CCTV cameras in the areas of tourist attractions, but they are still not enough. We do have a plan to install more CCTV cameras throughout the city so not only do residents and tourists feel a greater sense of security in this city, but police can also act on incidents spotted by cameras before a 191 call is made.
What is your plan or project that helps raise environmental awareness of tourists?
Hua Hin succeeded in protecting the environment since Hua Hin was one of three cities worldwide chosen to receive the Global Green City award from the United Nations Sustainable cities and Human Settlements Awards.
The issue of stray dogs is a frequently discussed concern to residents and visitors in Hua Hin since there are serious injuries caused by roaming dogs and dog bites. What’s your long-term solution?
We have attempted to solve this problem though. First of all, solving such problem in Thailand is obviously different from other countries–it is should be noted that it is against the Buddhist way to destroy animals (saying that what you do to others will come back to you one day), so no dogs are killed regardless of how long they stay. It is fortunate for Hua Hin city that we have “Hua Hin Dog Shelter” initiated by H.M. King Rama IX in 2003 to tackle the stray dog problem in our city.
However, since there are so many stray dogs in Hua Hin and the shelter has limited capacity (approximately 1,500 dogs) and relies on charitable donations from animal lovers, some 300 stray dogs at the shelter were moved to Buriram province to make room for a quarantine of dogs suspected to be infected with rabies.
Anyway, this problem seems endless as long as a number of owners get rid of their dogs by simply dropping them off in the middle of nowhere. Hence, in situation like this, we would like to ask some people petting dogs to help reduce the population of stray dogs through sterilization. Moreover, people can adopt dogs from the shelter like me.
Parking is a problem in most modern cities and Hua Hin is not an exception. Would it be possible for the influx of visitors especially during the vacation or the weekend to park at the parking lot of municipality?
Why not, all visitors can park at our parking lot from 8.30 AM until 22.00 PM for free. The municipality’s parking lot is also equipped with an elevator and restrooms for visitors’ convenience.
Does Hua Hin have a plan to move the tangled mess of communication cables underground?
Hua Hin municipality has intermittently launched bids for the project of undergrounding a hanging mass of cables in Hua Hin, but the process has so far dragged on with half achievement. If we had funds for that, we would bury the lines within three
years by using Damnoenkasem Rd. as a pilot program. There are so many complaints from tourists about the unfair and expensive price from restaurant operators, especially seafood restaurants.
How do you prevent such problem to ensure the fairness and consumer protection?
Well, it depends. It is the right of vendors to price the menu, but its price needs to be appropriately priced by dishes and weight. Nonetheless, Hua Hin municipality has recommended that the price of goods and services be clearly displayed with the good manner.
Please tell us your future city projects.
There are so many upcoming projects. The first project is that the municipality will do concrete road from Soi Hua Hin 102-112. Next, we will add more lanes in the area of Chomsin Rd. from 4 lanes to 6 lanes in order to decrease congestion. Also, Khao Tao reservoir will be renovated to be another landmark by making dancing fountain, along with rubber giant turtle floating around the reservoir. In addition, to support Thai children’s education to meet international standard, be intelligent, and have life skills, Hua Hin municipality is going to build trilingual (English, Chinese, Thai including computer field) kindergarten and primary school in area of Soi Hua Hin 11 Kong. Last but not least, in terms of water extension or development, we have formulated the plan to transfer water directly from Kaeng Krachan Dam to the water filtering plant near the Khok Ma valley. The Royal Irrigation Department will work with Kaeng Krachan Dam to launch closed water system with the budget about 900 Million THB. As a result, the construction of a waterworks plant can produce water at a capacity of 500 cubic meters per hour in Smorprong and Boh Fai Volley. This project will be completed by 2022.