Phuket welcoming an increasing number of cruises

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

Phuket is seeing an ever-increasing number of yachts and cruise liners either berthing temporarily at its marinas or offshore, with as many as 159 vessels entering and leaving its waters in 2023, according to statistics released by the Transport Ministry.

The popularity of boat travel has prompted the ministry to order the marine department to accelerate a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project to develop a large port to meet the trend.

The number of yachts exceeding 24 metres or 80 feet in length entering and exiting Phuket province over the 5 years is recorded as follows:

Number of yachts arriving in 2019: 164

Number of yachts departing in 2019: 173

2020 arrivals 85; 2020 departures 97

2021 arrivals 41; 2021 departures 38

2022 arrivals 117; 2022 departures 99

2023 arrivals 148; 2023 departures 159

Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit said that to accommodate the expanding number of yachts using services in Thailand, the Marine Department had been tasked with compiling data on supporting tourism activities in Phuket province for visitors arriving by yacht or superyacht. This includes studying the necessity of procedural guidelines and the timeframe for legal permissions in the case of superyacht arrivals. The aim is to expedite the permission process and attract tourists to boost revenue.

There is also a push to develop a cruise terminal to generate income from government tourism policies. The port would support routes along the coasts of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, divided into:

Gulf of Thailand coast

Routes from the port of origin in Singapore and the port of destination in Hong Kong, stopping in Koh Samui and Laem Chabang.

Andaman coast

Navigation on routes from the port of departure in Singapore with temporary mooring in Phuket and Krabi

The cruise terminal project at Laem Chabang Port and along the Andaman Sea coast is in the feasibility study stage to assess suitability, cost-effectiveness, investment format, and compliance with the Public-Private Joint Investment Act 2019.

The feasibility study for the development of the pier in Koh Samui has been completed, with the project estimated to require an investment of 12.865 billion baht, of which the public sector would contribute 6.201 billion baht. The project will be submitted to the PPP Committee for consideration by the end of June and following cabinet approval, will proceed to the selection of private sector partners phase in October, with the goal of opening for service in 2032.