Foreign visitors to this small island chain in the Gulf of Thailand have grown steadily since the Test & Go entry restrictions ended on May 1 this year, according to local tourism businesses.
They agreed that a surge in tourist numbers has revived the local economy battered by over two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A newspaper columnist first floated the idea of bundling the three islands together as a major entertainment destination, and it has been well-received by some tourism operators. However, it would need the government’s support and cooperation from the private sector.
Advocates of the plan say focusing on the nightlife entertainment would increase tourism revenue as pubs, bars, karaoke venues, massage parlours and other nightspots are now allowed to reopen in 31 provinces following an extended shutdown, although a midnight closing time will still be enforced.
Thanapon Uthaiwannaporn, a manager at the Combo Beach Hotel Samui, said Koh Samui was in dire need of an economic boost.
The concept of an entertainment island cluster is rarely seen in other countries, he said.