Ministry of Tourism eyes marine tourism

BANGKOK, 7 February 2017: Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports intends to work with other ministries and agencies to develop Thailand as a marine tourism destination.

Thailand is best known for its popular beach resorts and has lagged behind other ASEAN destinations the cruise tourism segment.

Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said the minister has discussed with the Port Authority of Thailand and related agencies to expand Laem Chabang and Khlong Toey commercial ports so they can play a role in marine tourism.

inside no 2“The key issue that we have to resolve is how to develop ports for cruise tourism, a segment that has a high potential to stimulate revenue for the country.”

She is focusing on the luxury end of the market that caters to luxury yacht owners who require a base for their yachts and often invest in a condominium near the marina.

The minister claimed many ports in Thailand have to improve quality to be a base for luxury yachts  as they were developed solely for commercial vessels.

“On average, the yachting business grows 3% to 5% per year…the sector attracts high quality tourists…to tap this niche market we have to improve ports on the Andaman coast and the Gulf of Thailand,” the minister explained.

Phuket and Pattaya both have marinas catering to the market with Phuket Royal Marina the pioneer and possibly the most famous due to hosting an annual boat show for Southeast Asia.

It is estimated that international maritime tourists, worldwide, could number 25.3 million.

The minster believes the luxury yacht cruise market will shift from Europe and the Americas to ASEAN, but that is largely wishful thinking. It is more likely that Southeast Asia will cater to yacht owners from Hong Kong, China and the main cities of the Asia Pacific.

The ministry has established a committee to prepare to promote the country’s marine tourism at SEA Trade 2017, Florida, during 13 to 16 March, this year, she added.

It is one of the largest shows, worldwide. concentrating on boats, marine-related industries and cruise tourism

In 2015, the Thai Cabinet approved a proposal by the Ministry of Transport to develop ports and facilities for yachts and cruise ships.

According to a Cabinet document, there are 33 potential locations where ports could be developed on the coasts of the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand.

Of that, 11 are on the Andaman Sea coast in Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Trang and Satun provinces, while 22 are on the Gulf of Thailand.

The document identified Samut Prakan, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Pattani, and Narathiwat provinces on the Gulf of Thailand.

Currently, there are 11 sites that are capable of serving yachts located in Phuket, Krabi, Trat, Chonburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces.

Thailand does not have a dedicated cruise port and there are only three ports (Bangkok, Laem Chabang and Phuket) that are capable of handling sea-going cruise ships.

By 2022, the plan calls for new ports in Krabi and Samui to attract more international cruise liners to spend more time in Thai waters.


  1. What’s more, nothing works out so far for MOT after the zero dollar clampdown. it is not likely this will work at all.

  2. Thailand tourism is Nothing Without China Market. The key to success is effective marketing and branding management in China.

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