Koh Samui terminal plan sparks interest
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Koh Samui terminal plan sparks interest

Trio vie for share in cruise revenue

Foreign and domestic investors have expressed interest in Koh Samui's new cruise terminal project, according to Deputy Transport Minister Manaporn Charoensri.

The ministry will review the results of a feasibility study into the project's Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investment model before submitting it to the cabinet for approval.

Ms Manaporn on Tuesday gave an update on the latest developments of the new cruise terminal planned for this popular holiday retreat island in Surat Thani province.

She said the study and analysis report regarding the PPP model were conducted by the Marine Department.

After reviewing the results, the ministry will propose the project to the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) for consideration.

It should be approved by the cabinet by September so the process of selecting private partners can begin.

An Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) is set to follow and will take around 18 months.

Construction is expected to begin in 2029 and the project will be launched by 2031, Ms Manaporn said.

An initial attempt to sound out the market showed that at least three private investors are interested in the project, she noted.

That includes two domestic firms: Bangkok Airways Plc (BA), which currently operates Bangkok Airways and manages Samui Airport, and a business group from Phuket and Koh Samui.

The third potential investor is a shipping line operator from Japan.

The PPP study suggested a 47-rai plot of land near Laem Hin Khom in tambon Taling Ngam would be the best location to host the cruise terminal.

The area includes 15 rai of onshore land, with 10 rai of that belonging to the Department of Forestry. Recent negotiations over how to use the land were successful, Ms Manaporn said.

The other five rai belong to the private sector. These could be acquired through expropriation or negotiations for a PPP investment.

For the offshore area, which spans more than 32 rai, a suspension bridge will be built to connect the passenger terminal with a tourist centre and service building.

About 12.17 billion baht will be invested in the project, which includes a 7,200-square-metre passenger terminal with a capacity to accommodate 1,200 passengers per hour and a cruise terminal that can accommodate two cruise ships, each up to 4,000 passengers, at the same time, or 120 cruises a year.

The new terminal will also be able to accommodate 80 yachts and six ferries at any one time.

Ms Manaporn said tourists on cruises are expected to spend around 5,000 baht each when in the country. The project is estimated to bring in total revenue of 8.5 billion baht.

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