European tourists decline by 50% in Koh Kut amid global tensions

Photo: Benoit Lepinay/Flickr

A drastic 50% drop in the number of European tourists visiting the Koh Kut district in Trat has been witnessed this year, as reported by the chairman of the Koh Kut administrative organisation. The chairman, who also operates a resort on the island, revealed that around 160,000 to 170,000 tourists visited the district last year, contributing to a revenue of hundreds of millions of baht.

The district is well-known for its picturesque islands of Koh Kut and Koh Mak. This year, Koh Kut saw approximately 100,000 visitors, marking the highest visitation since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This resurgence in tourism was partially attributed to the relaxation of travel restrictions from the mainland to the island.

Despite the rise in domestic tourism, a significant decline was observed in foreign tourist numbers, especially from Europe. The downturn persisted even in October, typically a peak period for foreign tourist influx. The decrease in numbers was especially noticeable in the hospitality industry, including restaurants and vehicle rental services.

The chairman identified potential reasons for this downturn in the number of European tourists, including the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, a recent shooting incident in a Bangkok shopping mall, and escalating tensions between Hamas and Israel. Traditionally, foreign tourists dominate the visitor count in Trat during the colder seasons, while Thai tourists prefer to visit the northern region. However, a surge in domestic tourism is expected as temperatures rise in December.

A call for the Srettha Thavisin government to implement tourism promotion schemes akin to those introduced by the Prayut administration was made by the chairman, highlighting that the current visa exemption policy might not be sufficient to attract foreign tourists, reported Bangkok Post.

In contrast, an increase of 20% in tourist numbers was noted at Koh Mak, as reported by the chairman of Koh Mak TAO. This surge can be attributed to the island’s recent accolades.

Koh Mak was recognised by the Green Destinations Foundation and its partners, securing a spot amongst their Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories 2022. Furthermore, the island bagged second place in the category of Governance, Reset & Recovery at the Green Destinations Story Awards held at ITB Berlin 2023 in Germany, standing just behind Normandy in France.

Thailand NewsTourism News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles