The Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said that the ministry is gradually taking measures to develop the coastal areas of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Islands, which cover a total of 3,000 kilometres and generated 1.2 trillion baht (35,100 billion U.S.dollars) in tourism revenue in 2022. The project consists of 5 clusters as follows:
The first area is the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which consists of Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao. The project will cover 2 more provinces, namely Chanthaburi and Trad, making a total of 5 provinces. This cluster is expected to bring in 340 billion (9.94 billion U.S.dollars) in revenue, with an average expenditure of 3,081 baht (90 U.S.dollars) per person per day.
In 2020, the total number of visitors, both Thai and foreigners, is recorded at 31 million, as the area is close to Bangkok and many ex-pats live in the area. The ministry wants to develop the area on the model of Industrial Tourism so that visitors have the opportunity to visit factories, similar to the city of Yokohama, where there is the Kirin Beer Plant and the museum of the instant noodle manufacturer Nissin.
Thailand Riviera, located between Petchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Ranong, is the second destination cluster. In 2022, this area had a total of 18 million people generating 85 billion baht (2.48 billion U.S.dollars) or an average of 2,362 baht (69 U.S.dollars) per person per day. This cluster has both mountains and sea. The ministry wants to develop more roadside stations and community complexes to sell products.
The third cluster includes 5 provinces in the south of Thailand, namely Phuket, Phang-nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun. Last year, a total of 29 million people visited the area, resulting in revenue of 600 billion baht (17.5 billion U.S. dollars), almost twice the money generated in the EEC area, with an average expenditure of 4,800 baht (140 U.S. dollars) per person per day.
It is the highest spending area among the 5 clusters and the ministry wants to make it the ‘Premium Andaman’ as it can be sold more expensively and focuses more on quality.
The Gulf of Thailand cluster, which includes Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Songkhla, is the fourth cluster. In 2022, a total of 18 million people visited these provinces, resulting in a turnover of 180 billion baht (5.2 billion U.S.dollars), which is an average of 2,861 baht (83.6 U.S.dollars) per person per day. The main selling points for this region are faith tourism and nature tourism.
The last cluster is the coastal region in the southern border provinces, located in Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala. In 2022, 1.6 million people visited the area, resulting in revenue of 7 billion baht (204 million U.S.dollars), an average of 2,264 baht (66 U.S.dollars) per person per day. The ministry will give the provinces a new image and is ready to help the young generation of locals build their towns.