Under a comprehensive master plan prepared by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the provinces of Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khirikhan, Chumphon and Ranong will be upgraded under the “Thailand Riviera” scheme to tap their full potential for natural, cultural, historical, gastronomic, sports and community-based tourism.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will spearhead the marketing push of the area, with the focus on generating tourism revenue for the residents, communities and local businesses in the four coastal provinces. The Thai government and related agencies will be closely involved in all aspects of tourism management, conservation and restoration, in line with the policy direction of the National Tourism Development Plan to more equitably distribute income nationwide, upgrade rural areas, provide better accessibility, and improve facilities and services for visitors. The master plan shows that the four provinces have diverse tourism assets such as national parks and water parks, 528 kilometres of coastline, beaches, bays, and islands; 70 royal projects and royal Initiatives; Man-made attractions include golf courses, theme parks, numerous community malls/outlets and a variety of sports tourism facilities suitable for water sports, triathlons, marathons, tennis, swimming and biking.
Hua Hin, the best known beach resort in the region, also holds an annual Jazz Festival, alongside a boundless choice of culinary fare and gastronomic delights. There is also more than adequate transportation access: Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat stressed that the entire development process must be implemented in a comprehensive, coordinated manner that pays equal attention to economic and ecological issues. For example, inf rast ructure development will be especially important to ensure proper fresh water supplies and prevent water conflicts between the agriculture and tourism sectors. The platform of the Hua Hin Railway Station, a local heritage site dating back to the days when it was used by members of the royal family visiting the Mrigadayavan Summer Palace of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), will be upgraded to reflect its unique design and architecture.
The plan also mentions opportunities for visitors to enjoy the local seafood, adventure activities and ecotourism, and the development of night markets, especially for local artists to showcase their works. Specific niche-market projects will include development of the Thailand Riviera as a “Global Health Tourism Hub”, organisation of world-class sporting events for golf, tennis, shopping festivals, and world-class summer education courses. The visitor experience will be enhanced by upgraded stops at petrol stations with clean toilets, lockers, luggage storage, CCTV and Wi-Fi. The plan has long been in the cards, but implementation was delayed due to successive changes in governments.