Samui seeks longer stays for Europeans

Tourism operators on Koh Samui are urging the government to allow extended stays for European tourists as they believe the proposed visa exemption for Chinese visitors will not benefit the island.

Ratchaporn Poolsawadee of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui said Chinese nationals account for only 10% of foreign tourists visiting the island. Foreign visitors to Samui are mainly independent tourists rather than large tour groups, as seen in other provinces.

Mr Ratchaporn said if the country targets high-spending tourists, it should enable a longer length of stay  and ease the visa application process.

He said the government should extend the visa from 30 days at present to 60-90 days for visitors from Europe, Israel and Australia.

Meanwhile, the biggest concern for the fourth quarter this year is a shortage of fresh water supplies on the island, said Mr Ratchaporn.

With more tourists anticipated to visit the island, the water supply could become critical, especially during the first quarter of 2024, which is high season for Samui, said Mr Ratchaporn.

This situation also discouraged job seekers from taking up employment on the island because of the high cost of living, he said.

Mr Ratchaporn said the number of tourists visiting Samui is expected to reach 2.5 million this year, exceeding the tally in 2019.

Bangkok Airways said it operated a maximum of 40 flights per day at Samui airport in August.

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  • account for: to be a particular amount or part of something -
  • cost of living (noun): the amount of money that people need to pay for ordinary goods and services such as food, clothing and a place to live - ค่าครองชีพ
  • critical (adj): (of a bad situation) very serious or dangerous - รุนแรง  วิกฤต
  • national: a citizen of a particular country - ประชาชน
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • quarter (noun): three months of the year on the official calendar of the government or companies - ไตรมาส
  • supply (noun): an amount or quantity of something that is available to buy or use - อุปทาน
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