Capt Thammawat Malaisukarin, of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, based in Phuket, today (May 23) called for relevant agencies to coordinate their efforts to create a standard operating procedure for cruise operators to comply with in order to streamline organising their tours to the region.
“Before COVID-19 large cruise liners made port in Phuket about 200 times a year, bringing 400,000 tourists to the island, generating an B800 million baht per year in income,” Capt Thammawat said.
“With no cruise liners making port in Phuket during the COVID-19 pandemic, that income was zero,” he noted.
“In the near future it is expected that large cruise ships will begin to travel on the Andaman Sea, and they are expected to return in numbers equal to before the COVID-19 situation,” he added.
“Tensions in Europe and Russia will make more tourists turn to Asia-Pacific, and it will appeal to tourists from other regions, such as Australia and New Zealand,” Capt Thammawat said.
The goal is for the government agencies to have all cruise tour operators on board with all requirements by July 1, to facilitate “the return to full service for 100% of cruise operators”, he added.
The cruise line ‘Spectrum of the Seas’, currently in Singapore, is scheduled to bring tourists to Thailand in June, Capt Thammawat noted.
The ship is described as the first ship of the Quantum Ultra class currently operated by Royal Caribbean International. Launched in 2019, the ship has a length overall of 347 metres. The vessel has 16 decks and can carry a maximum of 4,905 passengers.
The standard operating procedure is to be compiled as a step-by-step process in the form of a book containing all the required documents. The book will be presented to the Phuket Governor for approval, Capt Thammawat said.