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Samui Airport Expansion Plan Underway to Boost Tourism

Surat Thani is currently evaluating the potential expansion of Samui Airport to accommodate larger aircraft and an increasing influx of tourists, as stated by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during his visit on Monday. The initiative aims to boost the airport’s capacity beyond its current ability to handle 6 million passengers per year, targeting larger aircraft like the Airbus A320.

The prime minister’s inspection was part of a broader governmental visit to the regions of Koh Samui in Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, which spanned from Saturday to Monday. Currently, Samui Airport, operated by Bangkok Airways, features a single runway measuring 2.1 kilometers in length and 45 meters in width, suitable for smaller planes such as the Airbus A319.

Anticipated to conclude by early next year, the feasibility study for the airport’s expansion is underway, alongside efforts to secure additional land for this purpose. This development is poised to significantly increase tourist arrivals to the island.

In response to the projected growth in tourism, Prime Minister Srettha announced plans for enhancing local public utilities to cater to the surge in visitors, sharing these developments on his social media, noting the positive impact expected for the local community.

Furthermore, Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol engaged with the Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association and local businesses to discuss strategies for promoting the island as a premier tourist destination in Thailand. Initiatives include leveraging the area’s unique gastronomy and lifestyle to attract international tourists.

The conversation also touched on the importance of job training programs in partnership with the Labour Ministry to elevate the hospitality skills of the island’s residents. Additionally, Sudawan highlighted the potential benefits of a new cruise terminal project, which could lead to an increase in luxury cruise visits to Thailand, especially on routes from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Between January and April 7 of this year, Thailand welcomed approximately 214,097 passengers and 92,745 crew members across 100 cruise ship stops. The primary visitor demographics hailed from the United Kingdom, the United States, Malaysia, Germany, and Singapore.

The cruise terminal project is anticipated to gain cabinet approval by the end of the year, as part of the nation’s strategy to enhance its tourism infrastructure and attract more high-spending international tourists.

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