Ways sought to assist in isles' growth
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Ways sought to assist in isles' growth

Koh Samui
Koh Samui

The government is looking to solve several problems, including water shortages and illegal businesses, that are hampering tourism in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Tourism and Sports Minister Sermsak Pongpanich recently met with entrepreneurs from Surat Thani's Koh Samui and Koh Phangan islands to discuss the tourism situation in the province.

Koh Samui district chief Kampanat Klinsaowakon said tourism on Koh Samui has improved since late last year, with large numbers of tourists visiting the island, especially by cruise ship.

However, he said the island is facing infrastructure issues, including insufficient water supplies and road safety and congestion because of increased traffic.

According to the president of the Koh Samui Tourism Association, Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, the island's infrastructure is not aligning with the increasing number of tourists.

Mr Ratchaporn said, for example, the island has no cruise ship pier, although over 40 cruise ships are scheduled to visit the island this year. Small boats are currently used to transfer passengers ashore. Such inconvenience and time-consuming conditions hinder its tourism growth.

Meanwhile, insufficient water supplies and power outages are also problems that business operators on the island suffer during the tourist season, he added.

Koh Phangan is likewise suffering from similar infrastructure problems, according to Mr Rachaporn. The island also has issues of land ownership disputes and tourist safety, especially during the Full Moon Party period, he said.

According to Mr Ratchaporn, many business operators in Koh Samui are still suffering from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and are calling for lower interest rates and more credit.

They also urged the government to crack down on illegal businesses, ramp up legitimate land ownership initiatives, and solve issues related to nominee investments, he said.

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