Phang-Nga TAT Upgrade
The team at the Tourism Coordination Center (TCC) in Phang-Nga currently has their fingers crossed for an impending upgrade on their status. They are hoping the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will upgrade their office status to the same as their Phuket counterparts.
Living in the Khao Lak area, I know that in high season our amenities like restaurants, bars, shops and of course our dive boats can get quite full. Official figures show that in 2011 there were more than 260,000 visitors to Phang-Nga province and they mainly visited Khao Lak. The current tourism center runs with just two staff, which many say is not sufficient to handle the yearly influx of tourists.
The tourism center says they are looking for more funding to promote Phang-Nga as its own destination and not just a day trip area for people to come to from Phuket. I have seen it with my own eyes – hordes of tourists come up for the day to go snorkeling or diving and yet when a tourist here tells me they want to go to Phuket for a day; I have to be honest and tell them it’s better to stay for a couple of nights.
The TCC Phang-Nga knows that the vast majority of their operations are based on the Khao Lak area and they are keen to improve it. With stunning areas like the Similan Islands and Surin Islands and Khao Lak being the main hub for them; it’s easy to see why people choose to visit.
The first proposal for an upgrade was made in March 2011; in fact this was just over a year after the office was first opened. Khao Lak and indeed the rest of Phang-Nga is growing at a fast rate and we do need more people to know we are here as an individual area and not just as a part of Greater Phuket.
Written by Jamie Walsh