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Koh Samui is an important tourist destination which has provided a significant income for Thailand each year. However, a rapid growth in its economy and tourism and expansion of local community have affected the provision of public services, management of environment, and way of life of local people. This calls for a thorough study on the problems which have arisen from these impacts in order to find urgent solutions with an involvement of all stakeholders. The local authority, which consists of representatives of the local people, should be the main mechanism to tackle the problems effectively and appropriately in accordance with the island geography, customs, and the needs of its local people in order to facilitate its economic growth and development in a balanced and sustainable manner. This study reveals that the major problems arising in Koh Samui comprise: (1) problems concerning local administration which includes a problem of the structure and functions of Koh Samui Municipality, a budgetary problem, and a problem of coordination and integration with related local authorities; and (2) problems concerning the environment, community, and infrastructure, which include damage of natural resources, garbage, the urban development with the underestimation of social dimensions, losing local identity, overpopulation, unsustainable tourism, infrastructure, electricity management, water shortage, transport system and public health service. The developing of Koh Samui has been carried out by the reform of local administration by giving it a special status and form entitled “Nakhon Samui (Samui Metropolitan)”, zoning its administrative areas, broadening its functions and authority to provide public services, reforming revenue
management, reforming supervising systems as well as solving the problems concerning the environment, community and infrastructure, in accordance with the strategy to develop Nakhon Samui into a developed city in 4
dimensions, prospered city, environmental-friendly city, diversified city and safe city
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