New marina plan eyes big spenders

New marina plan eyes big spenders

Chon Buri to host harbour for luxury vessels

The Transport Ministry will conduct a feasibility study into a marine development project in Chon Buri as part of the country's efforts to boost revenues through tourism.

Chayathan Promsorn, permanent secretary for transport, said tambon Bang Sare of Sattahip district has been chosen by the Marine Department to become a new harbour for luxury vessels.

Mr Chayathan said the study, which is divided into three phases, will look into possible locations to house the marina, economic benefits and environmental issues including coastal erosion and beach restoration.

The first phase, expected to take 120 days and finish in July, will gather information necessary for selection of the project location, project design and beach replenishment, he said.

Expected to be completed in 150 days or in August, the second phase will look into engineering, economic and financial upsides, environmental concerns and will court local opinion.

The final phase involves beach replenishment plans and an environment impact assessment, said Mr Chayathan.

The Bang Sare marina project is in line with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob's policy to improve the country's maritime transport and logistics system, which will help bolster the country's efforts to become the region's transport and logistics hub as well as raise its competitiveness, he said.

However, the minister had stressed that input from local people and the impact on their livelihoods and the environment must be taken into consideration during the initial stages.

According to Marine Department figures, Thailand has 13 tourist ports that can be classified as marinas with eight situated along the Andaman Sea, four in the eastern region and one in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Tourists travelling on yachts are known to have high purchasing power, which means tourism in the east will get a boost.

Marina and cruise liner port projects are also on the government's tourism development list.

Mr Chayathan said the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning has also been instructed to collect details of foreign yachts entering Thai waters for analysis.

Meanwhile, the Marine Department was urged to coordinate with state agencies on improving the boating regulations and promoting the marina industry.

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