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Oil spill threatening tourism recovery on Koh Samet

Samui Times News



Oil spill threatening tourism recovery on Koh Samet
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Koh Samet’s fragile tourism sector, already battered by Covid-19, now faces another threat from an oil spill heading for the island’s beaches. Sarinthip Tupmongkholsup from the Tourism Association of Koh Samet is reminded of a 2013 oil spill at the island’s Ao Phrao and is desperate to avoid a repeat scenario.

“We do not want a repeat of the terrible spill at Ao Phrao Bay, as locals worked for years to clean it up.”

She goes on to say the beach’s natural resources still haven’t recovered from the 2013 leak and, despite the incident taking place in just one area, the huge amount of crude oil led to poor air quality all over the island and affected tourism demand.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the Pollution Control Department says between 180,000 and 200,000 litres of the 400,000-litre spill are headed for Mae Ramphueng Beach and the Khao Laem Ya–Mu Koh Samet Marine National Park. The department says unless something can be done, the oil is scheduled to hit the shore tomorrow afternoon.

Tourism has already been badly affected in the eastern province of Rayong, where Koh Samet is located, but Sarinthip says the oil spill is a bigger threat to tourism than the pandemic. It will mean tourists are unable to swim in the sea and seafood could be contaminated. She is urging the government to do whatever it takes to mitigate the damage.

Another tourism deterrent is the requirement to present a negative antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. According to recent reports, the rule is causing many tourists to change their travel plans and head elsewhere.

Koh Samet currently receives between 300 and 500 visitors a day during the week, compared to 2,000 – 3,000 a day prior to the Omicron surge. According to Sarinthip, hotel occupancy on week nights hovers around the single digits. At weekends, the island welcomes between 1,000 – 2,000 visitors a day, still a far cry from last month’s figures of 3,000 – 4,000 a day. In 2019, the island received an average of 10,000 tourists a day.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic,CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


Courtesy ofThaiger News

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