In the past year, the paradisiac islands of Koh Kood and the burgeoning Koh Mak experienced a significant influx of about 170,000 wanderlust-driven tourists, confirms Dechatorn Chan-orb. Notably, the island chief of Koh Kood, who is also a proud proprietor of the famed Suanya Resort, stated that Koh Kood was the preferred landing destination for 100,000 of these visitors.
This impressive arrival rate harkened back to the good old days before the debilitating pandemic struck, reviving the much-needed revenue streams for these tropical havens.
Regrettably, the islands’ traffic pace hit a speed bump in the current year. The incoming tourist population was cut in half, presumably due to global incidents such as the troubling Russia-Ukraine crisis, a disastrous mall shooting in Bangkok, and the escalating Israel-Hamas conflicts. As a consequence, the normally snowbird-laden high season, a potential goldmine for both these islands, is noticeably subdued this year.
In light of these circumstances, Dechatorn advocates that the government should engineer ingenious strategies to win the hearts of tourists, thus reigniting their fascination with the island’s allure. Evidently, adopting free visa policies simply won’t cut the mustard.
On a different bend, Nol Suvajanon, the Tambon Administrative Organisation chief for Koh Mak, strikes a more optimistic note. He anticipates a surge in the tourist count, backed by the island’s credible accolades for sustainable global tourism and grossing environmental milestones.
Suvajanon contends that garnered accolades spark heightened curiosity among potential travelers. Armed with this buzz, Koh Mak is set to enjoy a whopping 20% growth in the visitor count in this year that will blow past the magical number of 100,000. The tourism crystal ball further points to a steady upward trajectory for the near future— an anticipated 10% hike in 2024, which could unleash a significant windfall of up to 400 million baht flowing into the coffers of local businesses.
Additionally, Russian entrepreneurs investing time and money in organizing grand-scale events on Koh Mak have emerged as noteworthy sources of local income. Moreover, they are gearing up to tout Koh Mak as the next sizzling vacation spot on the European and Russian tourism radars.
Although the delayed onset of winter has led to a tentative hold on travel plans by foreign visitors, the industry insiders envisage a heartening rise in arrivals from Russia and Europe. They are hopeful that as the year winds down and segues into the early months of 2024, these islands will regain their glory as preferred retreats for these travelers.