Partners and supporters of the Phoenix-Plan for the Hua Hin Airport have gathered to celebrate progress made to date. The Royal Coast Review was also present to also hear an announcement that the long-mooted Thailand Riviera tourism project has been kick-started into action.
On Saturday (4th December), Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr Alongkorn Ponlaboot took to the stage on the airport tarmac alongside Phoenix Thailand CEO John Laroche and Chairman Udorn Olsson.
Charged with responsibility to manage the Project, Khun Alongkorn described how Hua Hin is destined to become the hub of a revitalised Thailand Riviera Project. He is a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party and former Prachuap Khiri Khan Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. His home province and former political stronghold is Phetchaburi, so he knows the region well.
His address included a comment that any deficiencies in his English language skills may be because he studied English from the Oxford dictionary, rather than at Oxford University!
Khun Alongkorn described development and marketing for project tourism attractions focusing on Wellness, Active Lifestyle, Ecotourism, Herbal Traditional Herbal Medicine and Golf.
He gave a commitment that Hua Hin will be the hub of this revived Thailand Riviera model. Within the designated provinces are airports at Chumphon, Suri Thai and Ranong. A Phoenix-plan strategy has the potential to realise domestic flights between all four airports within the Riviera region.
The Thai government has long been discussing the development of Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, and Rayong as ‘Riviera’ destinations. The current project includes Samut Songkhram to that list of provinces.
The first ‘Riviera Thailand’ project originated in 2005, then shelved after the government was ousted in 2006.
In June 2013, a Minister of Tourism and Sports announced a tourism promotion campaign named the ‘Royal Coast’, to promote Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan within the greater ‘Riviera Thailand’.
In early 2018 the ‘Rivera Thailand’ project was again revived after a Cabinet meaning held in Hua Hin aiming to boost tourism to communities along the Andaman coast. The Tourism and Sports Minister’s then included the ‘Royal Coast’, as a marketing name centered on Hua Hin.
In March 2018 the National Tourism Policy Committee approved guidelines for this tourism development initiative to become ‘’concrete as soon as possible’’.
The Facebook Page ‘Dasta-Thailand Riviera’, created in June 2020, remains active. DASTA is the Development Administration Organisation for Sustainable Tourism. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused devastation to Thailand’s tourism industry since then.
The need to stimulate this vital aspect of the country’s economy just may have provided the spark to finally realise the benefits of a vibrant Thailand Riviera. Khun Alongkorn says the next stage will be gatherings of the relevant government agencies to really kickstart the Project.
FOOTNOTE: A fitting background to the airport tarmac setting of this gathering was the distant earthmoving equipment that could be seen continuing work on widening the runway.
That construction work unfortunately to the suspension of regular Air Asia flights to Chiang Mai from the start of December however rapid progress is now likely to see these flights resume mid-month followed by many international flights soon.