Government officials are excited about making Koh Samui a hub for cruise tourism to Thailand.
Officials recently met with private-sector cruise experts while touring a vessel docked off of the gulf coast of Samui. The tour comes after last week's announcement by the government in Bangkok that it has approved a plan to build a cruise port on Surat Thani province's largest island.
“None of the ports in Samui are deep enough to handle large ships,” said Pataraporn Sithivanich, the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Executive Director for the Americas Region. “So cruise vessels have to anchor about 5 kilometers off of the coast, meaning that it takes a while to transport tourists from the ship to land.”
Ms Sithivanich said the TAT estimates the number of cruise ship passengers to Samui to increase from an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 tourists per ship annually.
EAS Maritime Agencies general manager Wattana Choksuvanich said increasing cruise tourism necessitates the expansion of other infrastructure projects on the island.