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Thailand aims to boost yacht and cruise tourism

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Plans to make Thailand a maritime hub in Southeast Asia
Thailand is blowing into the sails of the cruise and yacht sectors as part of plans to make the country a maritime hub in Southeast Asia, a senior government official tells TTG Asia.
“We are doing a study at the moment,” said Chula Sukmanop, director-general of Thailand’s Marine Department on plans to grow the leisure boating sector. “We are going to send it to the cabinet by December.”
The study involves looking into building new marinas at different sites such as Koh Samui, Krabi and Trat. The government will take a hands-off approach, leaving construction to the private sector, which will be incentivised by an investment promotion package including tax breaks.
The Marine Department recently allowed foreign yachts and large sports boats to cater for tourists in Thailand. Together with the focus on the super-yacht sector are plans to change immigration, revenue and customs rules to enable yachts and their staff to stay for a year.
A longer-term plan is to develop the cruise industry, where the lack of infrastructure remains a problem. According to Chula, there are plans to locate a terminal in Krabi for the Andaman Coast and another in Koh Samui for the Gulf of Thailand.
Welcoming the government’s plans, Andy Treadwell, managing director of yacht events company SYE, said: “There is definitely a lack of marinas in key places like Koh Samui and the west and southern coasts of Phuket.”
TTG Asia

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