‘Thailand Riviera’ – comprising the four coastal provinces of Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Ranong – is expected to receive stronger marketing push from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), as part of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ comprehensive master plan develop the area’s full tourism potential.
Weerasak Kowsurat, minister of tourism and sports, earlier this month met with local authorities and representatives from various government agencies to move ahead with the next steps. The UNWTO has also been enlisted to provide technical and marketing support for the Thailand Riviera project.
The tourism minister stressed that the Thai government and related agencies will be closely involved in the entire development process, including tourism management, to ensure that its is implemented in a comprehensive, coordinated manner that pays equal attention to economic and ecological issues.
An important feature of the project has been the construction of a scenic 680km highway from Bangkok, which runs directly along the coastline with bike lanes. About 200 km have been completed and a 49km stretch is currently under construction, with the entire highway to be concluded in five years.
The platform of the Hua Hin Railway Station, a local heritage site dating back to the days when it was used by members of the royal family visiting the Mrigadayavan Summer Palace of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), will be upgraded to reflect its unique design and architecture.
Specific niche-market projects will include building the Thailand Riviera as a global health tourism hub, organisation of sporting events and shopping festivals, and development of night markets.
Petrol stations will be upgraded with clean toilets, lockers, luggage storage, CCTV and Wi-Fi to enhance the visitor experience to the area.
In 2017, the four provinces received a total of 14 million Thai and foreign visitors, a rise of 4.5 per cent year-on-year. The average expenditure per trip per person was 5,141 baht (US$156), generating an estimated 72 billion baht in tourism income (+8.9 per cent year-on-year).