Govt signals support for Samui cruise terminal

Govt signals support for Samui cruise terminal

PUBLISHED : 7 Apr 2024 at 17:49

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin greets people on Koh Samui, Surat Thani, on Sunday. (Photo: Government House)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin greets people on Koh Samui, Surat Thani, on Sunday. (Photo: Government House)

SURAT THANI: The government will support the Marine Department’s plan to build a cruise ship terminal on Koh Samui to promote tourism, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Sunday.

Mr Srettha and ministers from the Transport Ministry and the Tourism and Sports Ministry are on an official trip to Koh Samui and Nakhon Si Thammarat, which started on Saturday and ends today.

Mr Srettha said he would like the project’s proposal to be presented at a cabinet meeting for approval by the end of 2024. “The cruise terminal will be a gift to the people of Surat Thani,” he said.

He said the terminal would benefit the southern part of the Gulf of Thailand because there are many islands in the area, so visitors could enjoy seamless travel by cruise ship.

“Koh Samui has great potential,” he said, adding that besides the terminal, the government also wants to see a seaplane base and a duty-free zone at the marina terminal to boost the economy in the province.

He said the seaplane base and cruise terminal would elevate the island to become one of the top destinations for foreign visitors.

Deputy government spokeswoman Rudklao Suwankiri said government delegates went to a potential site for the Marina cruise terminal project at tambon Taling Ngam.

They were welcomed by Surat Thani MPs from the United Thai Nation Party.

The delegates also received a progress report on the project from Marine Department Chief Kritphet Chaichuai.

Mr Kritphet said the Samui cruise terminal project wouls be part of a popular sailing route between Singapore and Hong Kong, and the government expects cruise ships would make a stop there.

The government also plans to establish another cruise terminal at Laem Chabang Port in Chon Buri in the upper part of the Gulf of Thailand.

On the Andaman side, cruise terminals will be built in Phuket and Krabi, Mr Kritphet said.

The Marine Department has hired consultants to conduct a preliminary feasibility study on the design and site selection of the Samui cruise terminal, he said.

The facility would use a total area of 47 rai, consisting of 15 rai of land for service buildings and parking and a 32-rai offshore area for a three-storey passenger building and a yacht marina, he said.

He said the terminal would accommodate 180,000 tourists and 118 cruise ships per year. Projected income over the 30-year period is about 8.5 billion baht.

The project is currently being submitted to the Public-Private Partnership Policy Committee and is expected to be submitted to the cabinet for approval this year, he said.

Construction would be scheduled to start in 2029 and would be complete around the end of 2032, he said. 

Many local and foreign investors are eyeing the project, including Bangkok Airways.

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