Operators ask govt for Samui cruise terminal
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Operators ask govt for Samui cruise terminal

Operators urge govt to prioritise cruise tourism

Tourists are visiting Koh Samui in Surat Thani province. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)
Tourists are visiting Koh Samui in Surat Thani province. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)

Surat Thani: The government is being urged to speed up the development of infrastructure for cruises with almost 100 cruise ships scheduled to visit Koh Samui during 2023-2025.

According to Samui tourism operators, it is high time that a cruise ship terminal is built, alongside facilities to accommodate cruises which bring about 3,000 visitors per trip to Koh Samui.

Currently, cruise ships must anchor off Koh Samui, with tourists shuttled to and from the island via smaller boats. This makes day trips rather inconvenient and poses a risk to tourist safety.

Ratchaporn Poolsawad, chairman of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, said residents are in support of the cruise ship terminal project and its potential location at Laem Hin Khom in tambon Taling Ngam.

The Marine Department has launched a feasibility study into a cruise ship terminal at Laem Hin Khom as the waters surrounding the area are deep enough to accommodate large cruise ships.

"The cruise terminal can bring around 3,000 visitors to the island. We hope the government will push for the project," said Mr Ratchaporn.

According to a source in cruise tourism, a total of 32 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Koh Samui this year. They are from Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Japan, the UK, Spain, Greece, Sri Lanka, Australia and the US.

About 41 cruise ships have contacted the Marine Department to schedule their visits next year and 17 have expressed an interest in visiting Koh Samui in 2025.

The number of international visitors is expected to exceed 100,000 annually and tourism revenue is expected to increase significantly because cruise visitors have high purchasing power and spend more than most foreign visitors.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, almost 70 cruise ships visited the island each year, making it the third-busiest cruise stop-off in Thailand behind Phuket and Laem Chabang in Chon Buri province. Some predict if a cruise terminal is built, it will attract almost 100 ships per year.

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