Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), led a delegation of TAT officials and members of the press from Bangkok to the island of Ko Samui to join a beach clean-up activity and discuss tourism initiatives with the local public and private tourism-related organisations following the recent flooding.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “While the unseasonal weather in the South has been a challenge for the industry, we want to show the world that Thailand’s popular holiday resorts and islands, including Ko Samui, are resilient and that now the sun is out, are able to offer dream holidays in this lovely location. We had productive discussions with business and hotel owners to put together a long-term strategy to deal with future floods and improve the island’s infrastructure and image.”
The Samui visit took place on 14-15 January, 2017, covering an inspection of resorts on the island and a meeting with local public and private tourism-related organisations. The beach clean-up activities took place on 15 January.
During the meeting, Mr. Yuthasak said TAT had laid out strategies in phases to ensure the popularity of Ko Samui and confirm its status as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The short-term strategies have included the plan to hold talks with Bangkok Airways to introduce a promotional package for February and March 2017 to encourage more visitors during these months. TAT is also considering offering the tourism sector of Ko Samui either a reduced rate on booths or more exhibition space in the Thailand Pavilion at the ITB Berlin in March and at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus in June. Meanwhile, the SME Bank and the Office of SMEs Promotion will also be offering a series of special loan schemes to businesses affected by floods so that they can get back on track quickly.
Mr. Yuthasak said in terms of long-term strategy, TAT recognised that Ko Samui had faced several ongoing issues with flooding, water management and waste disposal and would be discussing with the relevant government agencies to address these problems in a sustainable manner.
The TAT Governor also personally led a TAT delegation to join the people of Ko Samui in the “Welcome to Ko Samui 2017” clean-up day, which took place on 15 January at Chaweng Beach. The activity was hosted by Samui Municipality in collaboration with the Samui Travel Association and the Thai Hotel Association and will help clean up areas of Chaweng, Bo Phut and Mae Nam, which had been affected by the weather.
“Activities such as this clean-up on Ko Samui are important, as they allow us to give a little back to this gorgeous island that so many of us love. Over 2.7 million tourists visited Samui in 2016 and enjoyed this pristine and beautiful destination. We want any future tourists to appreciate this Thai gem in its natural state, so we must all play our part in preserving it,” concluded Mr. Yuthasak.