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Phuket aims to attract more yachts

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Thailand’s tourism minister has created a special task force to come up with suggestions for changes to crew visas and yacht-charter regulations that will boost the chartering of foreign-flagged yachts in Thai waters, according to news reports in the Phuket Gazette.

The goal is to have the changes in effect for next year.

Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told the Gazette that the prime minister was in full support of bureaucratic changes to help boost marine tourism.

“This is an important issue, as any changes will affect different types of visas and businesses,” she told the newspaper. “We must also consider internal security and safety measures a top priority, but I will support the changes suggested because it means a lot for tourism,” she said. “We hope to have new rules in place by the end of this year to help secure the island’s position as the top yachting destination in the region.”

Among the changes to boost marine tourism is a harbor expansion at the Deep Sea Port at Ao Makham that would allow long-term concessions.

“We are looking at becoming attractive hosts for yachts, cruise liners and superyachts – all for long-stay, not just short stays,” Kobkarn told the Gazette. “This is what we aim to do and I hope to have a clear picture set by the end of the year.”

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