Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Thailand eyes yacht tourism development from European market

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to increase yacht tourism from Europe, especially from landlocked Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

Srisuda Wanapinyosak, deputy governor of international marketing for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas at the TAT, said the agency’s office in Prague received many enquiries from Czech residents about the possibility of sailing on yachts to visit Thailand.

Travellers holding boating licences have cruised their own yachts or chartered ships to the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman coast, where Phuket has several marinas, which receive some 1,500 yachts and cruisers each year.

The TAT is also striving for other marina tourism products, including cruisers. However, Srisuda acknowledged that Thailand needs to speed construction of dedicated ports for embarking cruise ships, which now have to dock at cargo container ports.

Eastern Europe is a major market of Thailand, with arrivals from the region growing to 523,000 visitors last year, up 9 percent from a year earlier.

Tourism receipts from the region grew by 23 percent to 36 billion baht (1.15 billion USD) in the period.

The TAT also plans to use marketing promotions to attract arrivals from emerging markets in Africa and South America that have no direct flights to Thailand.

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