South islands see tourist numbers spike

South islands see tourist numbers spike

Tourists arrive on Koh Samui over the weekend. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)
Tourists arrive on Koh Samui over the weekend. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)

The southern region's islands are expected to record a dramatic rise in tourist numbers this year, with the islands off the Surat Thani coast set to enjoy a 60% rise in arrivals compared to the middle of the year.

Suphakhan Yodchun, director of the Tourism Authority Office of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan, said that the islands had welcomed 2.3 million tourists in the last ten months, bringing in more than 40 billion baht in revenue.

Similarly, Maya Bay in Krabi, another popular destination in the region, is currently seeing an average of 4,100 visitors per day, according to figures released by Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park.

Theekhawut Sriburin, chief of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park, called the numbers a "positive sign", as the bay had been temporarily closed from August to September for habitat restoration work.

Prior to that, the bay was closed for three years for the same purpose.

To reduce the environmental impact of the reopening, tourists must follow rules set by the national park, including no swimming in the sea, no collecting sea creatures, and only applying reef-safe sunscreen.

"We want to preserve the bay's resources as much as possible," he said.


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