Koh SamuiSouthTourism

Thailand’s southern islands are reeling in tourists

Koh Samui

South Thailand’s holiday hotspot islands are reeling in tourists once again. The islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Pha Ngan have seen 2.3 million tourists arrive on their shores in the past 10 months, according to the director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s office for the islands.

This has generated over 40 billion baht in revenue. The islands off the Surat Thani coast are set for a 60% rise in arrivals compared to the middle of the year, Bangkok Post reported.

Meanwhile, Maya Bay, a major natural attraction in Krabi, has seen an average of 4,100 visitors a day, according to numbers from Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.

The park’s chief called the numbers a “positive sign,” since the bay had been closed for environmental restoration from August to September. The park maintains strict rules for tourists, including no swimming in the sea, and only applying reef-safe sunscreen.

Several of Thailand’s known vacation havens are seeing a comeback in tourism. This week, Thai immigration reported 934,164 tourists in Phuket from May 1 to November 27. Of those tourists, 914,746 are foreigners, and 19,418 are Thai. Phuket’s tourists can be seen flocking to the Phuket Walking Street Sunday Market, also well known as ‘Laad Yai.’

Russians made up Phuket’s largest foreign tourist demographic in November. This month, 55,097 Russians made their way to the island province.

Last month, Koh Larn island off Pattaya saw at least 20,000 tourists over one weekend. The cluster of young and old tourists swarmed to the island, flocking to its Ta Waen Beach.

The tourists enjoyed traditional Thai massage, as well as food, umbrellas, and other services offered at the beach. Pattaya City has also built a viewpoint over the beach for tourists to take photos.

Phang Nga’s millionth foreign tourist, a woman from Slovakia, was welcomed with gifts from tourism officials on November 6. Now, Phang Nga has set a goal of drawing up to 10 million tourists next year.

As of October 26, Thailand witnessed 7,349,843 international tourists arriving, surpassing the 7 million mark.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.