Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengphaet, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, was directly appointed by prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to lead the delegation which also included Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew, Angie Stephen, Vice President of Royal Caribbean International and representatives of the Navy, the Marine Department, the Department of Fisheries, the Customs Department, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the water police force and the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare.
Of the total 4,000 passengers on the liner, the largest American cruise ship in the Asia-Pacific region, 3,732 tourists disembarked to come ashore at Patong. It is estimated the tourists could spend in the region of B13 million while ashore.
“I am delighted to welcome you ashore to this world-class destination,” Mrs Stephen told the tourists as they made land.
“Phuket is considered one of the main destinations for tourists around the world, in particular in relation to cruise ship tourism.
“Phuket being included as a destination on the cruise ship itinerary shows that Thailand has fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and is ready to welcome tourists from near and far to its shores once again,” she added.
The development of cruise ship ports as a part of the national infrastructure plan will only lead to further opportunity for tourists to experience the unique beauty of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea region, Mrs Stephen explained.
“Royal Caribbean International looks forward to contributing in enhancing the quality and capacity of cruise tourism in Thailand and Southeast Asia,” she added.
Official estimates predict that around 10 million tourists will enter Thailand in 2022, helped by the government’s decision to scrap the obligatory COVID-19 health screening checks for incoming travellets.
Estimates state that Phuket will receive three cruise ships per week next year, a figure that is predicted to further grow in time. This will subsequently help increase the occupancy rate of hotels and businesses on the island as Thailand’s marine tourism potential is explored to the fullest extent.
The ‘Spectrum of the Seas’ first arrived in Patong Bay last Monday (Oct 24), becoming the first cruise ship to visit Phuket since the COVID-19 tourism shutdown in 2020.
“This is another good sign for tourism,” Governor Narong said at the time. “The ship can accommodate up to 4,900 passengers, but this time around it is carrying around 4,500 people, which creates another way to stimulate the economy of Phuket.
“And after this, there will be more cruise ships continuously arriving,” he added.