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Thai government to promote Koh Yao as a wellness destination

PHOTO: Flickr/P&H

There are plans to market Koh Yao, in the southern province of Phang Nga, as a wellness destination, according to the Thai health minister, Cholnan Srikaew. Koh Yao is made up of rate northern Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai, both in Phang Nga Bay between Phuket and Krabi.

The minister says the only hospital on Koh Yao Noi already serves over 12,000 of the island’s residents, in addition to any tourists who need medical assistance. Officials now plan to develop Koh Yao Chaipat Hospital into a “smart hospital” to boost the efficiency of its services.

The minister says there are other areas of the island that have the potential to be developed with tourism in mind. He adds that doing so would generate more revenue and provide job opportunities for the islanders.

Koh Yao is already well known as a green tourism destination, says Cholnan, offering tour programs that focus on the island way of life, such as fishing, coconut farming, rice growing, and the local cuisine. Homestay packages and various package tours are already on offer in the community.

The Bangkok Post reports that the health ministry is hoping to attract more long stay tourists who enjoy the island’s slower pace of life. In addition to Koh Yao, there are plans to develop the southern province of Ranong (just north of Phang Nga province) as a wellness destination. Officials want to make more of the province’s natural hot springs and their associated health benefits.

Japan and some European countries have inspired Thailand’s tourism minister to promote the kingdom as a spa destination. Sudawan Wangsupakitkosol says his ministry wants to develop 7 tourist routes to the country’s hot springs.

There are natural hot springs all over Thailand, with 71 in the north of the country, 32 in the South, 12 in Central Thailand, and 2 in the East.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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