Koh Samui tourism seeks extended stays for European travellers amidst water crisis

Photo by Nehal Patel on Unsplash.

Koh Samui’s tourism sector called for the government to extend stays for European travellers, arguing that the proposed visa-free travel for Chinese tourists will not significantly benefit the island. This comes from Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, the president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, who noted that Chinese nationals only make up a small percentage (10%) of the island’s foreign tourist demographic.

The island primarily attracts independent travellers as opposed to large tour groups, a trend commonly seen elsewhere. Ratchaporn argues that if Thailand wishes to appeal to high-spending tourists, it should ease visa processes, ensure convenient travel, and extend the length of permitted stays. His suggestion is to increase the current 30-day stay to 60-90 days, targeting tourists from Europe, Israel, and Australia.

One major issue for Koh Samui in the fourth quarter is the lack of freshwater supply. The pipeline between the island and Surat Thani has been non-operational for months, leading to hotels and other service sectors resorting to sourcing water from other suppliers at a higher cost. The cost per litre is considerably high in comparison to major cities, and this is anticipated to become a critical issue with the expected influx of tourists, especially in the first quarter of 2024, which is Samui’s high season.

The high cost of living on the island, including the high water cost, is reportedly discouraging potential employees from accepting positions on the island. Despite these challenges, Poolsawadee is optimistic, predicting that the number of tourists visiting Samui this year will exceed 2019 figures, reaching 2.5 million.

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Hotels on the island are largely operational again, with increased flight routes to Samui. The president of Bangkok Airways, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, stated that in August alone, the airline operated a maximum of 40 flights per day at Samui Airport, with an average load factor of over 80%. With the airport’s capacity to handle 50 flights per day, there is room to increase flight numbers to boost the island’s tourism.

In a joint effort to attract more visitors, Bangkok Airways, the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand are hosting the “Wonder Islands Samui — Phangan — Tao End of Year Sale 2023” at Siam Paragon until September 14. The event offers promotions from hotels and discounted airfares, aimed at drawing Bangkok residents to the islands, reports Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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