CHON BURI – The Cruise ship Costa Victoria, operated by Italy-based Costa Crociere Co, plans to use Laem Chabang in Chon Buri Province as its maritime tourism hub to serve cruise ship travellers in Asean.
It is the company’s first cruise ship coming to Thailand needing a berth at Laem Chabang’s deep-sea port.
Buhdy Bok, president of Costa Group Asia, said Thailand has long-term tourism potential as a sourcing and destination market for maritime tourism.
“Costa Victoria is one of our cruise liners pioneering the Asia-Pacific region.We will continually expand in Thailand by launching our first home port cruises from Laem Chabang,” he said.
Costa Victoria captain Giovanni Cosini said Thailand boasted one of the fastest-growing tourism industries in Asia-Pacific.
He also believes that Costa Victoria will play an essential part in serving rising demand for both Thai and international tourists seeking to enjoy maritime tourism in the near future.
Mr Cosini said Costa Victoria will be cruising for over four nights to explore the destination route stretching from Sihanoukville in Cambodia to Phu Quoc in Vietnam.
It will then move on to Koh Samui in Thailand before returning to Laem Chabang.
Wassana Paisarn-akanee, general manager of Joyful Holidays Co, one of the exclusive sales agencies for Costa Victoria in Thailand, said she wants the government and tourism operators to help enhance the competitiveness of cruise passenger terminals in Thailand by building effective infrastructure, as it will generate a lot of revenue from maritime tourism in the future.
Singapore, Hong Kong and China are the current leaders in the Asia-Pacific region, as they have the ability to service cruise ships from around the world.
“Thailand should promote the fact that it has outstanding piers and ports and a good immigration process for cruise tourists, so that the country will be able to compete with others in this region in the field of maritime tourism,” said Mrs Wassana.
She said she was satisfied with the feedback from Thais and international tourists on the arrival of Costa Victoria to Thailand.
For Costa Victoria’s first cruise service to be offered from Thailand, 1,500 of the 2,000 total passengers where Thai. The cruise cost 13,000 baht per person.
The company normally posts 7-8% growth in sales globally, but sales in Thailand are expected to see robust growth of nearly 100% in the first few years as the country has never had serious cruise promotions before.
Costa Crociere has 26 cruise ships under the brands of Costa and Aida, with a combined capacity of 72,000 beds.
Seven new vessels will be added to the fleet by 2020.
The company has a global workforce of 27,000 employees operating both on board and in 20 offices spanning 14 countries.