'All aboard!' as cruise ships return

'All aboard!' as cruise ships return

Authorities are preparing to allow cruise ships from the United States to dock in Phuket for the first time since the pandemic began, with the Spectrum of the Seas scheduled to arrive at the resort island next month.

Spokesman for Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre (Thai-MECC) Region 3, Pichet Songtan, revealed yesterday that is when the Quantum-Ultra-class ship operated by Royal Caribbean International has been granted permission to dock at the island.

The ship has 16 decks which can ferry 4,188 passengers at a full speed of 22 knots. The ship will be deployed on East Asian routes, according to the company's website.

Before the pandemic began, around 200 ships visited Thailand each year, making Thailand the eighth most-visited country by cruise ships in Asia, welcoming 400,000 tourists and generating 800 million baht per year.

Separately, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was pleased to learn that as of Sunday, over one million tourists have arrived in Thailand since January, according to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

This represents a 2,368% increase on last year, while revenues from tourism were also up by 1,424% for the same period.

The premier expects at least 300,000 tourists will visit Thailand each month after the government launched "Visit Thailand Year 2022-2023" to help boost growth in the tourism industry, he said.

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