Thailand Promotes Water Based Tourism
Thailand plans to expand its tourism promotions in the capital and on its island resorts by introducing a new tourism by boat initiative.
According to Kobkam Wattanavrangkul, Thai Minister of Tourism & Sports, officials are set to lay out plans for a range of sight-seeing trips on barges, sailboats and luxury vessels to take in major attractions along Bangkok's Chao Phraya River and also in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.
Boats are already a popular form of transport for tours around island hotspots like Koh Samui and Phuket, so the tourism by boat initiative is likely to attract even more visitors to the islands.
The scheme is predicted to be a particular success in the Andaman Sea region of Thailand, as the area attracted an impressive total of 21 million overseas visitors last year, generating over US$9 billion in revenue. Southern provinces including Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun are likely to be included on the list of new boat tours, and officials predict that the number of tourists in these locations would grow if they could be rapidly transported by boat to the most popular resorts in the region.
According to reports, trawlers owned by local fishermen might even be renovated and turned into sightseeing boats in order to provide an authentic experience for tourists.
Visitors exploring the Gulf of Thailand can also look forward to discovering islands such as Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and the Koh Angtong islands, all of which are part of the idyllic national Ang Thong Marine Park.
Meanwhile, in the capital, many of Bangkok's most attractive riverside spots are also best seen from the water, so the new plan is predicted to be a hit with urban visitors also. In fact, Bangkok is already considered The Venice of the East', and boasts a number of waterside attractions where visitors can get on and off boats to explore, from intriguing amulet markets to vast temples and palaces.
Travel agents have been encouraged to promote the new boat-sightseeing initiative, and they will be offered support from the government to do so.