Tourism operators within the southern province of Surat Thani are pivoting their attention to the US market, showcasing the distinctive local attractions. Atirat Danpattaraworawat, who heads the Cheow Lan Lake Tourism Promotion Association, disclosed on Sunday that their recent networking expedition to the United States, spearheaded by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), garnered considerable interest from the US market.
The Thai representatives presented Surat Thani’s unique offerings to a group of 20 travel advisers in Los Angeles and its neighbouring cities. By emphasising the local cuisine, the natural wonders, and its significance as a transportation hub for the neighbouring provinces, the representatives stimulated interest. Several travel advisers committed to visiting Thailand themselves and to facilitating their clients’ exploration of Surat Thani.
Danpattaraworawat stated that American tourists are attracted to the unique “Thainess” and value the experiences during travel, community-based sustainable management, hygiene, and safety. He suggested that Cheow Lan Lake could potentially be a new site of interest for American tourists, as it offers numerous nature-based experiences under the concept of “disconnect to reconnect”.
“The US market will become the main market after Europe, while visitors from the Middle East are also coming. We saw a return of Israeli tourists in late November too.”
He further asserted that Surat Thani will eventually serve as an essential link between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, as part of a major project being propelled by the government. As a result, tourism in Surat Thani is expected to flourish, with anticipated arrivals from Portugal, Spain, and Latin America. This development, he believes, will generate more employment opportunities for the local population.
The TAT’s Surat Thani office reported that last year, the province received a total of 2,865,226 tourists, generating nearly 22 billion baht. From January to October of this year, the province welcomed 6,077,227 visitors, marking a 112% increase from last year, and brought in 45.6 billion baht. Out of these visitors, 3,707,565 were Thai nationals.