Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is confident Malaysian visitors will restore southern Thailand’s tourism industry once the Test & Go scheme ends on Sunday (May 1).
Phiphat visited the islands of Koh Nu and Koh Maew in Songkhla to oversee preparations for opening the far South on Saturday.
He said Koh Nu and Koh Maew will be promoted as “hidden” tourist destinations in Songkhla, with attractions such as the Morakot Cave and Chomphu cliffs.
Both islands will be open all year apart from monsoon season. Meanwhile, Songkhla Old Town is being promoted for Unesco World Heritage listing to add to its tourism appeal. “Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha's move to scrap Test & Go will encourage Malaysian travellers to enter the country, helping tourism recover, Phiphat said.
He vowed to help revive tourism in Songkhla, his home province, citing the recovery in Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket under the sandbox scheme.
"It's time to restore tourism in provinces close to Malaysia, such as Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla and Satun," he added.