SAMUI – The tourism atmosphere on Koh Samui, Surat Thani Province, in February is filled with foreign tourists, both Europeans and Chinese tourists, continuously traveling to Koh Samui. Samui Airport is decorated with red lanterns to welcome the Chinese New Year.
Ratchaporn Poolsawadee, president of the Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association, said on 7 February that in addition to European tourists visiting Samui this month for Chinese New Year, direct flights from Chengdu and Chongqing, China, will also be flown to Koh Samui.
More than 5,000-6,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Koh Samui this month, which is a good thing after a long period of no Chinese tourists. Ratchaporn believes that the government’s visa-free policy also has a positive effect.
Chinese tourists who come to Koh Samui are not the type to buy tours, but they come to relax and can travel on their own, similar to European tourists in general. This has dispersed revenue and allowed tourism businesses to recover and rebuild their business.
The overall picture of room reservations is quite dense. The hotels on the main beaches, such as Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach, are almost fully booked. It is currently at 80-90 percent and Chinese tourists are still coming, so Koh Samui is expected to generate about 5 billion baht in tourism revenue during Chinese New Year, when European and Chinese tourists are expected.
Luecha Narkban, owner of Mit Samui restaurant, is another who sees the upsurge in Chinese tourists. He said his restaurant now sees more Chinese customers coming to eat, 3-4 groups a day, and each group consists of no less than 10 people. This is different from before when there were none. Chinese tourists order dishes that are quite expensive, such as stir-fried lobster with spices and crispy fried mantis shrimp. So we can clearly see how much money we are taking in.
Kanokkittika Kritwutthikorn, director of the TAT office on Koh Samui, informed that in 2023, 2,273,351 tourists traveled to Koh Samui by air, an increase of 66.65 percent from the previous year. In December, there were 207,096 passengers arriving and departing on 2,497 flights, an increase of 15.25 percent.
Jirawat Vuthiwatworakul, director of Samui Airport, said there will be 25 direct flights from Chengdu and Chongqing, China, to Samui Airport in February and March. Tourists traveling directly here want to visit the tourist attractions on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
There are currently 50 flights a day to Koh Samui. Samui has requested an increase to 73 flights per day in order to increase convenience for tourists. This is to cope with the increasing number of passengers in the future. Technology will be used, such as an automatic check-in system and various information signs that can automatically change their messages. This will enable passengers to check in quickly.