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Tourism by boat to Thai capital, island resorts to be promoted

January 14, 2015

Thailand plans to promote tourism by boat to its capital city as well as coastal and island resorts, officials said on Tuesday.


Thai Minister of Tourism & Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has instructed ministry officials to lay out plans to support the tourist industry which will arrange sight-seeing trips to varied tourist spots along a major river or in the sea with the uses of barges, sailboats and other luxury vessels.

The tourism by boat will attract a large number of visitors and raise a considerable sum of earnings to Bangkok’s riverside spots as well as coastal and island resorts in the provinces where boats are considered the most convenient and popular transport, the officials said.

The destinations along the river or at the coastal and island resorts designed to be promoted by the Ministry of Tourism & Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand include the Andaman Sea area, the upper part of the Gulf of Thailand, the Koh Samui island area and the Chao Phraya River area.

The Andaman Sea area covering the coastal southern provinces of Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun. No less than 21 million foreigners reportedly visited those tourist spots last year, generating more than 9 billion U.S. dollars in tourism-related earnings.

The number of tourists would likely increase if they were rapidly and conveniently transported by boats plying those coastal and island resorts or taking them to Malaysia’s Langkawi islands off Satun’s shores, the officials said.

While tourists may usually travel by air to major island resorts such as Phuket, they will be suggested to visit neighboring spots by boat which can keep one island connected to another as well as to shore, they said.

Trawlers owned by local fishermen might probably be renovated and turned into sight-seeing boats for tourists in addition to yachts and other seafaring vessels, they said.

“The government should push for the construction of new marinas to moor sailboats in Phuket or other areas on the shores of the Andaman Sea as part of the plan to promote tourism by boat,” said Tourism Council of Thailand President Itthirit Kinglek.

For instance, he said, Phuket only has had a few marinas and more are needed to meet the growing demands for tourism by boat.

The upper part of the Gulf of Thailand covering Pattaya and Koh Chang island. Yachts and other luxury boats will be used to accommodate visitors to the world-renowned seaside resorts and nearby islands.

Instead of tour buses or other land-based transportation, the visitors will be shuttled by boats between Pattaya and Koh Chang or other tourist spots along the eastern shores.

The Koh Samui island area where visitors will travel aboard sailboats or other luxury vessels to the island and its archipelago in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand.

Part of Koh Samui’s archipelago are Koh Pa-ngan, Koh Tao and Koh Angtong islands, among others.

The Chao Phraya River area where visitors will be given a guided boat ride to varied tourist spots along the country’s largest river.

Thai travel agents and tour firms will be encouraged and supported by government agencies to help promote such planned tourism-by-boat campaigns, the officials added.

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