German cruise liner Mein Schiff 5 reportedly dropped 3,000 tourists on the island of Koh Samui for a bit of shopping and sightseeing.
Koh Samui’s Mayor Chayapon Intarasupa says the large group arrived at Nathon Pier on Saturday in small boats as the ship approached the island. The luxury liner dropped the guests off for a one-day trip on the island.
According to the Pattaya Mail, such a short trip was also expected to bring an estimated 10 million baht to the island’s tourism industry.
The ship carried European tourists who had begun their cruise in Singapore before going to Vietnam and then to Koh Samui. Chayapon says the visitors saw various sites on the island, including the Hin Ta Hin Yai rock formation, local temples, beaches and Na Muang Waterfalls.
He says they also attended Lunar New Year ceremonies of local Thai-Chinese ethnic communities. And, the visitors also observed prayers to spiritual entities protecting the island for good fortune.
Meanwhile, authorities and businesses have been instructed to accommodate tourists and ensure their safety. Operators were encouraged to provide good services and to avoid taking advantage of guests as they toured the island.
Already more than 200,000 tourists have visited the island in January, making a strong comeback from the stagnated arrivals during the Covid pandemic. Surat Thani’s governor, Wichawut Jinto, says that 86,507 tourists arrived by air on the island, while 91,570 arrived by boat.
However, such trips ashore by cruise ship passengers, such as those on the Mein Schiff 5, brought tourism numbers to over 200,000, according to the Bangkok Post.
Four tours were dropped off on the island for one-day visits, while two tours dropped off tourists for an overnight visit.
Wichawut also says that tourists to Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Tao, Khao Sok National Park, and other areas in Thailand’s south have increased. Such a boost in tourism at the beginning of 2023 is a good start for the country.
Wichawut remarked that such a strong showing indicates that Surat Thani is still a very popular choice for foreign visitors.
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