Phuket event to promote Thailand as a yachting hub

Phuket event to promote Thailand as a yachting hub

The government will kick off Thailand's first yacht show next month in a bid to sell the country as the most favoured destination for superyachts in Asean.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Marine Department, the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation and the Transport Ministry are working together to promote the event, which will be organised by Singapore Yacht Events Pte.

The Thailand Yacht Show will be held at the Ao Po Grand Marina in Phuket's Thalang district from Feb 8-14.

The authorities and organiser expect to welcome 150 regular yachts and 10 superyachts at the event.

If successful, it will be organised again next year on a larger scale.

The TAT will be the main agency promoting the show, using a 15-million-baht marketing budget. 

Tourism and sports permanent secretary Pongpanu Svetarundra called the event an opportunity to present Thailand's yachting capabilities in terms of marinas, luxury hotels and other tourism facilities.

"Government support for yachting will be important in persuading superyacht owners to visit Thailand," he said.

All government agencies agreed at a meeting yesterday that if Thailand wanted to be a regional superyacht hub, it must amend regulations to facilitate owners and related businesses.

Rules related to immigration, import tariffs and value-added tax should be relaxed to provide convenience more yacht owners to Thailand.

"We are moving forward to push Thailand as Asean's yacht hub and hope it will help to woo more millionaire tourists to Thailand," Mr Pongpanu said.

"More visits by superyacht owners will generate an extra US$1 million in revenue for the country."

He said the goal was also in line with this year's tourism policy, which focuses on revenue and not the number of foreign visitors.

Marine Department director-general said his department wanted to develop yachting and related businesses for the long term.

The department last September extended the anchorage period for superyachts to one year from 30 days before.

Mr Somchai said the country should develop transport and other infrastructure and amend immigration regulations.

While superyachts can anchor in Thailand for one year, passengers and crews can still stay only 30 days.

Thailand numbers 11 world-class marinas, mostly in Phuket, and Mr Somchai said a successful yacht show would encourage more to be built.

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