Island hopping: Thailand’s new maritime route to revolutionise tourism

Photo courtesy of Luciano Mortula via National Geographics Kids

Thailand spearheads an ambitious project to link its stunning islands with Vietnam and Cambodia, promising to boost investment, trade, and tourism across the region.

The Governor of Trat province, Natthapong Sanguanjit, recently chaired a meeting that gathered officials and business leaders from six provinces of the three countries. This initiative is part of the Cambodia-Vietnam-Thailand Economic Corridor (CVTEC) Trat Business Roadshow 2024. Prominent attendees included Chamnan Srisawat, Chairman of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), and Puripan Bunnag, Senior Vice President at the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

Chamnan revealed that the TCT, with the TCEB as a co-organiser and main sponsor, is expediting the CVTEC conference. The goal is to establish a maritime route that connects Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia under the banner One Market, Three Destinations. This route aims to function not only as a robust economic corridor but also as an enticing tourist trail, showcasing the region’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Governor Natthapong highlighted the importance of this route in fostering tourism along the eastern coastal regions of the three nations. During the meeting, representatives from the public and private sectors of Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This agreement is set to strengthen trade, investment, tourism, and the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) industry along the new maritime route.

TCEB Deputy Director Apichai Somboonpakorn expressed confidence in Thailand’s readiness for the project. He noted that if successful, the route will allow seamless travel from Pattaya to Laem Chabang, to Trat, Sihanoukville in Cambodia, and Kien Giang in Vietnam. Vice Chairman of the Trat Provincial Tourism Council, Wiyada Suang, announced that the sea route is expected to launch during the peak tourist season this November, reported The Star Malaysia.

In related news, Thailand is pulling out all the stops to become the epicentre of MICE tourism in Southeast Asia, with Vietnam emerging as a potential powerhouse partner. This ambitious vision, spearheaded by Puripan Bunnag, Senior Vice President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), aims to harness the post-pandemic resurgence in the MICE sector to bolster Thailand’s economy.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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