Thailand’s Marine Department has announced plans to revive the Cruise Terminal Development Project to meet the increase in marine tourism. The department has agreed to develop Bali Hai Pier in Chon Buri into a hybrid pier. The port will be constructed to function both as a home port for cruises for 1,500 passengers and a port of call for ships with a capacity of 3,500 to 4,000 passengers.
The project is currently in the research and development phase, with the study report, estimated price and design expected to be finalized by the first half of 2023. An investment analysis and study into public-private partnership options are expected in June 2023. This project is expected to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness in cruise tourism, with the port projected to open in 2028.
Back in 2018, Thailand country ranked third in the world for the number of ship stopovers, with over 580 ships stopping per year and 14% growth year on year. However, to date, Thailand does not have a standard cruise terminal.
A department report illustrated that the ports in the Gulf of Thailand, mainly Bangkok and Laem Chabang, host around 150 cruises yearly, with passengers spending THB 7,000 (USD 206) per person daily. It was also highlighted that passengers from 89 cruise ships stopping at Koh Samui Port in Surat Thani were spending THB 4,200 (USD 124) daily, whereas passengers on 219 cruises that stopped at Phuket Port were spending THB 6,400 (USD 188) per day.
Thailand’s Marine Department was allocated over THB 150 million (USD 4.4 million) between 2019 and 2023 for three cruise terminal developments, in order to boost tourism income. This is reflected in the Tourism Ministry’s 2018-2027 Cruising Tourism Promoting Strategy, 60% of which focuses on the cruise terminal project, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
(Sources: Thaiger; Bangkok Post)