Trat bemoans lack of tourists

Trat bemoans lack of tourists

Two popular islands see only trucks loaded with goods as Covid-shy local travellers stay home

Only a small number of tourists stepped off the ferry at Koh Chang, a popular island in Trat, on Saturday. (Photo: Jakkrit Waewkraihong)
Only a small number of tourists stepped off the ferry at Koh Chang, a popular island in Trat, on Saturday. (Photo: Jakkrit Waewkraihong)

TRAT: Koh Chang and Koh Kut, two popular islands in Trat, have seen a sharp drop in tourists this weekend as people are avoiding travel because of worries about Covid-19.

The ferry that normally carries hundreds of holidaymakers in their cars from the Trat mainland was filled mainly with trucks and pickups carrying goods on Saturday.

Trat province reported between 24 and 34 new coronavirus infections a day during the past three days. In Koh Chang district, four infections were reported at tambon Koh Chang Tai.

On Saturday, only a small number of cars with tourists were using the ferry service to Koh Chang.

About 100 to 150 tourists visited neighbouring Koh Kut on Saturday. The Boonsiri boat service is the only operator serving the island at the moment, running just one trip a day.

Saksit Mungkarn, chairman of the Trat Tourism Industry Council said the tourism situation in Trat, particularly in Koh Chang and Koh Kut, looked bleak as strict restrictions imposed to curb the soaring number of Covid infections have resulted in a small number of local tourists visiting the province.

Hoteliers and resort operators on Koh Chang have been badly hurt as they have had no revenue for several months. Some had to close their businesses, he said.

The government is hoping to gradually open more tourist destinations to vaccinated foreign visitors by October if current trials in Phuket and Samui prove successful. However, the relentless spread of the Delta coronavirus variant has tourism operators wondering if the timeline will have to be changed.

The Trat tourism council is pushing for provincial authorities to accelerate vaccinations as much as possible to boost confidence among tourists, said Mr Saksit.

Trat reported two Covid deaths and another 22 infections on Saturday, raising fatalities in the province to four and the cumulative provincial total to 562 cases.

Trucks and pickups loaded with goods use the ferry to Koh Chang from the Trat mainland on Saturday. Normally, hundreds of carloads of tourists flock to the island on weekends. (Photo: Jakkrit Waekraihong)

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