The research aimed to study the attitudes of local residents toward Phase 1 of the proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development plan for Klong Yai District, Trat Province. The mixed method approaches of quantitative and qualitative research methods were used in this study. A sample group of 400 residents of Klong Yai District, Trat Province responded to a 5-rating scale questionnaire for the quantitative portion of the research. In-depth interviews with local administration office leaders were used for the qualitative portion of the research. Participatory observation was also employed in this study.
The results showed that the residents’ attitude toward Phase 1 of the SEZ development plan for Klong Yai District, Trat Province was at a high level overall. The three highest ranked positive responses to proposed development were: improved infrastructure, a new tourism center and 4-lane road expansion of Highway 318. The three highest ranked positive responses to the implementation process were: the roles of the current local leaders, public hearings being held in advance of any changes and participation of local residents in the decision making process. The factors affecting residents’ positive attitude were: information and education regarding the plan, the roles of the local leaders, and the government’s response to the need for local infrastructure development. The survey respondents also recommended the continuation of development in both infrastructure and public utility projects, as well as continuing to disseminate information regarding future development plans.