The Marine Department has unveiled a plan to build marinas in six provinces along the Andaman coast and turn them into a new hub for tourism and marine transport.
The provinces that will feature in a feasibility study to be carried out from next year until 2024 are Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun, said Sompong Jirasirilert, deputy director-general of the department.
He said when the details of the investment plan become clearer, it will attract private investors and local administrative organisations to jointly invest in the scheme with the government.
Each marina will be designed to take on average 30 to 40 small cruise ships, and at most 100.
The expected investment value will be estimated later when the exact locations for building these marinas are decided, Mr Sompong said, adding their respective sizes will depend on the chosen venues.
The six marinas will be designed after that process is complete, and an environmental impact assessment will be conducted, he said.
"We're confident this community marina development project will draw in more tourists, particularly those who like to travel on small cruise ships or yachts," Mr Sompong said.
"This will help spur tourism income among Andaman communities."
The department has been building 13 ports on the Andaman coast since 2018, six of which are now finished, he said.
They are Pak Meng Port in Trang, Surakun Port in Phangnga, Koh Lanta Port on Krabi's Lanta Yai Island, Sala Dan Port on Krabi's Koh Lanta Noi Island, and Thara Public Park Port and Tha Le Port, both in Krabi.
Another port to be finished later this year is Pak Khlong Chilat Port, from which ferry services between Krabi and Phi Phi Island will run.
On the Gulf of Thailand, the department has since 2020 been building two seaports, one in Chumphon's Pathiu district and the other in Rayong's Klaeng district, Mr Sompong said.
"The Pathiu district port is expected to wrap up later this year and the other port later next year," he said.
"The construction of a new port is also being planned next year on Trat's Koh Kut Island.
In 2024, six new ports will be built to serve marine navigation in a transport network comprising Krabi, Phangnga and Phuket," he added.