Connect with us

Business

Phuket tourism market eyed for semi-submarine pilot

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Looking to build on its recent successful launch in Malaysia, one Korean marketeer is now eying the Phuket and Phang Nga marine leisure markets for its simple yet innovative semi-submarine vessel.

“The Penguin” was one of several interesting marine products that stood out at this year’s Phuket International Boat Show (see page 44 for more details about the event); To learn more about the product and its marketing prospects, the Gazette spoke to Kyoonsung Cho, managing director of Trust Link Trade, the official marketing partner of Raonhaje (the Penguin’s Korean manufacturer) in the Southeast Asia region.

Tell us about the Penguin – what are its key selling points?

There have been many other sub-marine concept products – which can take more than 20 people at once. These are designed to go deep down into the sea. There are concerns that they may cause some damage to the marine ecosystems including coral and other sea creatures. Therefore, these types of vessels are strictly prohibited by Thai marine regulations.

However, the “Penguin” is a semi-submarine which only requires two meters depth of sea for operation and has a depth-alarming sounder to prevent any damage from collision to the rocks and coral under the sea. The vessel is purposely designed for slow speeds as to conserve nature and to ensure safety at the same time.

Another key selling point of the “Penguin” is that it is electric powered, and thus is a very eco-friendly product that does not cause pollution [from petrol emissions], either in the seawater or in the air.

Please tell us more about the manufacturer.

The manufacturer’s name Raonhaje means “joyful tomorrow” in Korean and has been developing life boats for a few decades; its mother company HLB Inc supplies the life boats to a number of world famous ship building companies, such as Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd as well as Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd.

Therefore, the technology applied to the “Penguin” has been proven already in terms of safety and watertight [features] – its iron frame structure inside the boat and its buoyancy in the water.

Who is your primary target here in Phuket and neighboring provinces?

The Penguin is ideal for boat operators in Thailand whom have some concerns about how to differentiate themselves from other competitors by providing a better service option for their tourists or customers. The retail price of this boat is set at US$100,000 (about 3.3 million baht) but the price is negotiable for operators who consider ordering more than five vessels. My company TLT has a plan for a pilot candidate client to have a chance to test-operate the Penguin without any other additional expenses except for the inland delivery costs.

What is your impression so far about the marine industry in Phuket and the region?

I personally have been to the Similan Islands for tourism twice and have talked with many other tourists. They said that the nature was fantastic and had been much more beautiful before being damaged by the 2004 tsunami. However, from another point of view, the tour programs for tourists are pretty monotonous in terms of the variety of choices, which can make tourists feel bored of the same programs and no competition among boat operators, which can affect better quality tourism demand. If there is any active tourism business which is willing to introduce the Penguin, we believe it can contribute more variety to tourism programs

What ultimately led to the decision to launch in Southeast Asia?

Above all, here is the biggest market for this kind of product – especially in Thailand. One figure from the Ministry of Tourism [and Sports] declared that approximately 24 million tourists came to visit Thailand in 2013. This makes it the 4th biggest tourist market in the world. This is the main reason I did not hesitate to make the decision [to do business here].

Can you tell us a little bit about your operations thus far in Malaysia?

We recently launched the Penguin in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, with a local tourism company there. In the beginning, four Penguins were launched, strictly for business, in which mainly Chinese tourists are the targets. The operation is expected to make about $1,000 additional income per boat per day.

Are there any other factors potential operators and investors should consider?

The biggest concern on the boat operator’s side is maintenance – in case of an emergency, malfunction and fixing the defect without wasting time.

Therefore, we would like to try a joint venture for which TLT Inc and Raonhaje enters into a joint investment with a Thai partner or investor. Then, we will establish our base for maintenance and the assembly line of other boats in the future. We can also provide mechanics and a maintenance training program either in Thailand or in Korea.

What about the ROI?

The ROI itself varies depending upon the scale of investment and operation type. In the case that the operation has five boats, each running for $100 per one hour use, for six hours a day. The daily income will be $600 per boat. The rest of the calculation depends on fixed and variable costs of the boat operator, but generally speaking, we project that that the ROI can be made in one year.

For more information or inquiries, call Kyoosung Cho on 82-10-4374-3254 or email kschou67@gmail.com

— Steven Layne

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand34 mins ago

Thailand conservation adds 17 rare Indochinese tigers this year

Pattaya2 hours ago

Man falls off 4th story roof only breaking arm and chin

Thailand6 hours ago

Family finds long lost man after he is rescued from 17 metre well

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

16 new dark red provinces and restrictions extended to Aug 16

Hua Hin9 hours ago

Hua Hin Maya Club execs get 3 months for superspreader event

Myanmar11 hours ago

Thai candidate selected as ASEAN envoy to Myanmar

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Foreigners able to register on vaccine site despite data leaks, glitches

Thailand12 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 18,027 infections, provincial totals

Thailand21 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Sunday: 18,027 infections, expat vaccine registration

Transport1 day ago

August flight plans: Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Lion

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

New site for foreigner vaccine; Mor Prom deletes appointments

Politics1 day ago

Facebook fake news post suggesting a coup faces prosecution

Koh Samui1 day ago

UPDATED: Samui Covid-19: 14 new Black Club infections, 2nd small cluster

Thailand1 day ago

40,000 cases a day could happen by September, says projection

Phuket1 day ago

Phuket Sandbox Covid-19 infections: 35 today, 209 this week

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending