Tourism Authority of Thailand makes a splash in Cruise Tourism
The Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) today chose Seatrade Global, the biggest cruise trade show in the world, to announce Thailand’s commitment to leading the way in the cruising marketplace in Southeast Asia.
As cruise tourism continues to grow worldwide, Thailand aims to be at the helm, already hosting many major cruise lines, including Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, AIDA, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Viking, Cunard and many others to its shores.
To that end, TAT announced the massive redevelopment of Phuket as a key cruise home port, in a two-phased construction project led by the Winvestment Company Limited. The project is split into two phases. Phase One, a short-term refurbishment of the existing port, will be completed in 18 months. Phase 2 is a long-term development plan and will be completed in five years. When finished, the Phuket Home Port will include numerous cruise-ship docking areas, a convention hall and exhibition center, and a mix-use area complete with hotel, restaurant and retail spaces.
“In realizing Thailand’s potential to be a cruise destination, the Thailand government intends to promote cruise tourism within our region, and to develop Thailand as a world-class offshore paradise,” said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, The Minister of Tourism And Sports.
Other upgrades to Thailand’s key ports announced at Seatrade Global include a major investment in Bangkok’s cruise-ship port, transforming it into a “Modern Port City.” Improvements include waterfront retail shops, expanded ship terminals and leisure areas. Laem Chabang Port, located 1.6 hours outside of Bangkok and the home port of Costa Cruise since early 2015, will also undergo a massive facelift and infrastructure improvement, scheduled to be completed by 2022.
At each of Thailand’s welcoming ports, including the country’s fourth main port at Ko Samui, cruise passengers already discover a variety of tourist attractions featuring off-the-beaten-path destinations, unique cultural and local experiences, Thai hospitality, entertainment and the world-famous Thai cuisine.
Located in the heart of the ASEAN region, Thailand can easily connect to surrounding countries via both the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand. On the Andaman Sea side of the country, cruise passengers from Singapore can travel to Malaysia, then on to Krabi, Phuket and Ranong in Thailand, finally arriving in Myeik in Myanmar. From the Gulf of Thailand, cruise passengers can depart Singapore to Songkhla, Samui, Hua-Hin-Cha-am, go on to Koh Chang and end in Sihanoukville in Cambodia.
“By redeveloping Phuket as a key home port, Thailand’s goal is to become a hub for not only sports tourism, medial and wellness visits, and weddings and romance trips, but also a popular cruise tourism destination, by providing first-class port experiences that lead to guests to join into local, unique Thai adventures,” said Wattanavrangkul.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports is working with the Royal Thai Government to achieve this goal through various projects, first including a working committee to facilitate cruise tourism.
In 2016 Thailand ranked seventh in the Top 10 Asian cruise destinations by total calls, receiving nearly 300 calls, as rated by Asia Cruise Trend.
According to data from the Cruise Lines International Association, the number of cruise ships in Asia has grown by 12 percent during 2013-2016, while the number of cruises and voyages has grown by 22 percent.
By adding to the infrastructure in its key cruise-ship ports, Thailand plans to substantially increase the number of visitors who choose cruising as the way to see this legendary country known as “the land of smiles.”
Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, “Amazing Thailand” is one of Southeast Asia’s premier travel destinations and home to well-known tourist locations including the capital city of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Ko Samui and Krabi. Known as the “land of smiles,” Thailand features some of the world’s finest luxury hotels and resorts, and offers visitors a rich tapestry of exotic architecture, culture, cuisine, traditions and adventures. For more information on Thailand visit www.na.tourismthailand.org.
Source = Tourism Authority of Thailand