Trat: The number of tourists from European countries visiting Koh Kut district fell by 50% this year, according to the chairman of tambon Koh Kut administrative organisation.
Dechathon Chan-ob, the TAO chairman and operator of a resort on the island, said about 160,000-170,000 tourists visited Koh Kut district last year, generating hundreds of millions of baht in revenue.
The district is home to the beautiful islands of Koh Kut and Koh Mak.
Almost 100,000 tourists visited Koh Kut this year, which was the highest since the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, adding the return of tourists was in part due to the easing of travel from the mainland to the island.
However, the number of foreign visitors especially from Europe dropped by 50% this year and despite the usual uptick in activity during October, the sector remained sluggish.
"Usually foreign tourists visit the island in large numbers in October and November, but business is slow, looking at the numbers reported by restaurants, car and motorcycle rental services," he said.
Mr Dechathon said the likely factors were the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the shooting at a Bangkok shopping mall last month and the Hamas-Israel violence which seems to be escalating.
He said that during the cold season, most tourists visiting Trat are foreigners while Thais head to the northern region, but added that he hoped to see an uptick in domestic visitors in December when the temperature rises.
The TAO chairman urged the Srettha government to launch tourism promotion schemes similar to those implemented by the Prayut administration, adding the visa exemption policy might not be enough to draw foreign tourists.
Non Suwatnanon, chairman of Koh Mak TAO, said the number of visitors at Koh Mak rose by 20% this year after the island received two awards.
Koh Mak recently won recognition from the Green Destinations Foundation and its partners as being among their Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories 2022.
The island won second place in the category of Governance, Reset & Recovery behind Normandy in France at the Green Destinations Story Awards held at ITB Berlin 2023 in Germany.