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McClatchy-Tribune  07/17/2014 12:01 AM ET
Nakhon Si Thammarat eyes TAT boost [Bangkok Post, Thailand :: ]

July 17--Tourism operators in Nakhon Si Thammarat have high expectations for a big increase in their revenue to 12 billion baht next year now as the province is being seriously promoted in Europe.

The Nakhon Si Thammarat Tourism Business Association set the figure at double last year's revenue, said adviser and former president Suleeporn Serewiwattana.

The 2015 marketing scheme by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is aimed at promoting secondary provinces including Nakhon Si Thammarat, whose major highlight is Khanom district.

Nakhon Si Thammarat has high potential to grow, especially among high-end European tourists who are looking for fresh destinations. Besides Khanom district, other attractions are Khao Luang National Park and the Baan Khiri Wong traditional community.

Baan Khiri Wong has been likened to a big happy family, and locals grow fruit such as mangosteen, rambutan and durian along with stink beans.

Khanom district is conveniently accessible via three airports ? Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Koh Samui ? as well as the Surat Thani/Phunphin train station.

It features nine bays, nine beaches, three waterfalls and three caves and is home to several dolphin species including the rare pink dolphin.

"A visit to Khanom is highly recommended for all travellers looking for an unspoiled travel destination," said Ms Suleeporn.

The most suitable period for travel there is between March and October.

January-August is good for fruit lovers, as it exports the most fruit of any province in the South.

The average annual occupancy rate at Khanom hotels is 40%. Room rates vary, starting from 400 baht a night for a room to 8,000 baht for a pool villa.

The length of stay for European tourists is seven to 15 days on average.

Khanom has about 1,000 hotel rooms and the province 6,000 rooms.

The business association believes if the TAT seriously promotes Khanom in Europe, it will create jobs in the province.

The past three years, TUI Travel, a European tour agent, has shifted charter flights away from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Krabi because room rates are higher on average for the latter. The association is confident the TAT campaign can stimulate demand and boost room rates in the future.

Juthaporn Rerngronasa, the TAT's deputy governor for international marketing, said the authority planned to bring its marketing representatives, directors of TAT offices in Europe and tour agents to visit Khanom and Nakhon Si Thammarat soon to promote the province before the coming high season.

This new TAT campaign will be called "Khanom + Downtown of Nakhon Si Thammarat City".


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