Cruise ships rescue Koh Samui

Cruise ships rescue Koh Samui

The cruise ship AIDAbella docks at Koh Samui, Surat Thani, on Wednesday. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
The cruise ship AIDAbella docks at Koh Samui, Surat Thani, on Wednesday. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

SURAT THANI: Two cruise ships brought thousands of European visitors to the rescue of Koh Samui as the last group of Chinese tourists left this southern resort island.

The German-flagged AIDAbella and British-registered Marella Discovery docked at Koh Samui with about 3,500 passengers, mostly from Britain and Germany.

Groups of passengers on Wednesday visited major attractions including Chaweng beach, local Buddhist temples, restaurants and souvenir shops - much to the relief of local businesses.

Smiling shop owners said their arrival revived Koh Samui. The last group of Chinese tourists, 85 of them,  had left the island on Tuesday.

Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto said a total of 11 cruise ships were scheduled to arrive in Koh Samui this month and would significantly compensate for the absence of Chinese visitors.

He said visitors were screened and no one was found infected with the novel coronavirus.

Flights from China were suspended because China stopped all outbound group travel.

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