Four provinces have been described in a Tourism Authority (TAT) announcement to be “of economic significance”. They are Surathani (Ko Samui), Chonburi (Pattaya), Phuket, and Chiang Mai. These prioritised provinces are receiving the first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine.
The TAT announcement goes on to reveal that over 80 tourism operators on Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, and Ko Tao are offering special discounts and privileges to tourists until 30 April.
These announcements are clearly aimed to boost domestic tourism which stalled with the emergence of the ‘new wave’ of Covid-19 infections but is now ready to re-emerge.
However our Royal Coast region, including Hua Hin, has not been included as a priority tourism destination for either vaccine deliveries or TAT initiatives.
The inability of either Prachuap Khiri Khan or Phetchaburi Provinces to recognised as being ‘’of economic significance” by the TAT is a major concern to local tourism operators.
To date tourism associations and local TAT officials have seemingly failed to attract the attention of national policy decision makers and are yet to announce significant plans to kick-start this important aspect of the local economy.
The announced plans and strategies for the islands in Surathani include:
- Stand Up Paddle around Ko Samui with schedules available at least until May 2021.
- The “3 Wonder Island” tourism promotion at CentralWorld, Bangkok, from 11-17 March, 2021, with special discounts and privileges from 50 tourism operators on Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao. The event is jointly organised by Ko Samui Tourism Promotion Association and the TAT Ko Samui Office.
- The launch of the “Phangan Privilege Card” that allows holders to enjoy discounts and privileges at hotels, restaurants, shops, and tourism-related businesses that are members of the Koh Phangan Hotel and Tourism Association.
- The “Dive to the Nature” project to promote green and clean tourism on Ko Tao with a range of conservation efforts such as coral reef restoration, ocean and beach clean-up, and new ecotourism route.
- Bangkok Airways is offering a special one-way fare on the Bangkok-Samui or Samui-Bangkok sector, starting from 2,000 Baht. Bookings can be made from now until 30 April, 2021, for travel until 30 June, 2021.
- The TAT Ko Samui Office, in collaboration with Raja Ferry and Seatran Ferry, is offering a coupon worth 250 Baht per vehicle ferry to Ko Samui on weekdays (Monday to Thursday) until 30 April, 2021.
The TAT Phuket Office, in cooperation with Phuket’s public and private sector partners, has also announced a series of new events and festivals, scheduled between now and November.
The events and festivals include:
Seafood festival: The first of the “Roi Rim Lay Phuket Festival” was held on 26-28 February, 2021, at Saphan Hin. The event featured more than 170 stalls, mostly offering renowned local delicacies, fresh and cooked seafood, as well as agricultural and tourism-related products at reasonable prices.
The next “Roi Rim Lay Phuket Festival” will be held at Patong Beach on 19-21 March, 2021, and at Laguna Grove in Cherng Talay on 10-12 April, 2021.
Sports event: The island’s first-ever Amazing Thailand Phuket Surfskate Series 2021 was launched on 20 February, 2021, at Phuket Old Town. Next events of this fast-growing street surfing sport are scheduled for 20 March at Kata Beach, 23 May at Karon Beach, 14 August at Patong Beach, and 13 November at Surin Beach.
Arts event: The Kata Karon Hotel Association has initiated the “Art Vasion” project featuring street art paintings by 35 artists from Phuket and Bangkok to create new ‘check-in’ points for visitors. The paintings can be found at five key locations: the canal-side area between Club Med Phuket and OZO Phuket; the beachside alleyway near The Boathouse Phuket; Kata’s beachfront wall near the Surf House Phuket; the wall in front of The SIS Kata, and The Pizza Company’s wall.
In addition, Laguna Phuket is staging the ‘Revive 555 Festival’, a series of events starting from 31 March to 18 April.
Tourism operators in Phuket are also offering special discounts and privileges