In the old capital of Ayutthaya, which holds world heritage status, unlicensed vendors cause an eyesore and resist attempts by authorities to move them.
Officials fear that unless the problem is solved in the next few months, Thailand could end up losing world heritage status over the historic city.
The government’s management of Ayutthaya will come under scrutiny when the 21-member World Heritage Committee (WHC) meets in Bahrain next year. The panel confers world heritage status – and can take it away if a country fails to take care of a listed site. Thailand has to present a report on how it is managing its five world heritage sites, including Ayutthaya. At stake is millions of baht in tourist earnings and hundreds of local jobs.