🌴 European tourists are shying away from Koh Kut district in Trat due to various factors, leading to a significant decline in visitor numbers and revenue. However, neighboring Koh Mak is flourishing with a 20% increase in tourism, thanks to its commendable sustainable practices. 🏝️🌊🌞
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The Downturn in Numbers
Trat’s picturesque Koh Kut district has experienced a significant downturn in the influx of tourists, particularly those from European countries. The chairman of the Tambon Koh Kut Administrative Organisation, Dechathon Chan-ob, noted that visitor numbers have halved this year. The decline in tourism has resulted in a substantial drop in revenue for the district, known for its idyllic islands of Koh Kut and Koh Mak.
In the previous year, the district had welcomed around 160,000 to 170,000 tourists, bringing in hundreds of millions of baht. This year, even with an increase of visitors to nearly 100,000—the highest since the Covid-19 pandemic—there remains a palpable lull in economic activity. The district, reliant on the typically busy months of October and November, has seen a slowdown affecting local businesses from restaurants to rental services.
Contributing Factors to the Slump
Several international events are believed to have contributed to the decline. The ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, recent violence in Bangkok, and escalations between Hamas and Israel are likely deterrents for potential visitors. These events, creating a chain of uncertainty, have significantly impacted the usual flow of tourists to the region.
A Seasonal Shift in Tourism
Typically, the cold season sees foreign tourists flocking to Trat, while domestic travelers prefer the northern regions of Thailand. However, hopes are pinned on an increase in Thai visitors to the island in December, coinciding with a rise in temperatures.
Call for Government Support in Tourism
Mr. Dechathon has called upon the Srettha government to take action. His suggestions include implementing tourism promotion schemes akin to those of the previous Prayut administration, emphasizing that visa exemption policies alone may be insufficient to attract foreign visitors back to Koh Kut.
Koh Mak: A Silver Lining
Despite the challenges faced by neighboring Koh Kut, Koh Mak has seen a 20% increase in tourism. Non Suwatnanon, chairman of Koh Mak’s TAO, attributes this rise to the island’s recent accolades.
Koh Mak has garnered international recognition from the Green Destinations Foundation and its partners, securing a spot in the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories 2022. Additionally, at the Green Destinations Story Awards held in ITB Berlin 2023, Koh Mak won second place in the Governance, Reset & Recovery category, following Normandy in France. These awards have undoubtedly contributed to the island’s increased allure as a sustainable and responsibly managed destination.
In conclusion, while Koh Kut district faces challenges, there is a sense of optimism that with government support and global recognition of sustainable practices, Trat’s islands can bounce back and flourish once again as prime destinations for both international and domestic visitors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the current trends in tourist numbers in the Trat region, and how are Koh Kut and Koh Mak faring differently?
Koh Kut district has seen a stark reduction in the number of European tourists, with visitor numbers halving this year, leading to decreased economic activity. In contrast, Koh Mak is experiencing a surge, boasting a 20% increase in tourism due to its sustainable practices and international accolades recognizing its commitment to environmentally responsible tourism.
Can you identify the reasons behind the decline of European tourists visiting Koh Kut?
The drop in European tourist numbers in Koh Kut is attributed to several global issues, including the Ukraine-Russia conflict, recent unrest in Bangkok, and tensions between Hamas and Israel. These events have fostered a sense of uncertainty, which has dissuaded potential visitors from choosing Koh Kut as their travel destination.
What measures have been proposed to revive tourism in Koh Kut, and how has Koh Mak managed to thrive despite similar challenges?
Mr. Dechathon has urged the Srettha government to implement tourism promotion initiatives, similar to those from the Prayut administration, to reinvigorate foreign interest in Koh Kut. Meanwhile, Koh Mak’s success can be credited to its international recognition for sustainable tourism, which includes prestigious awards and inclusion in the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories 2022. This acclaim has enhanced its appeal as a sustainable travel destination.