The stunning southern Thai province of Trang welcomed its one millionth visitor, Mr. Wichaya Kiatying-angsulee, on 29 November 2012. Senior executives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Trang Provincial Authority, Trang Chamber of Commerce and Nok Air presented a certificate to the millionth tourist of 2012 at the Departure Lounge of Don Mueang Airport, Bangkok.
The event was presided over by Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, TAT Governor.
Trang is a magnificent coastal province with a beautiful 199-kilometre shoreline along the Andaman Sea. In recent years, it has become as popular as Krabi and Phang-nga, both of which are attracting a growing number of foreign and domestic visitors seeking to go beyond Phuket.
In January – October 2012, Trang received a total of 910,000 visitors, both domestic and foreign. As the average number of daily visitors is 3,200, it was calculated that the millionth visitor of 2012 would we arriving on 29 November. By the end of 2012, Trang is expected to record 1.15 million visitors, an increase of 14% over 2011. Official statistics show that 70% of total visitors are Thai and 30% are foreigners.
Major factors that have contributed to the tourism growth are the increased flights by Nok Air and Thai AirAsia, the absence of natural disasters and a stable social and economic situation, thanks to a combination of private and public sector policies which are designed to ensure a balance between the local cost of living and income levels of the local people.
Most of the foreign visitors are European, especially from the Scandinavian countries who enjoy long-stay, leisure holidays at the beachfront bungalows, mostly between November – March. More recently, there has been strong growth in arrivals from neighbouring Malaysia, where TAT and the Thai tourism private sector have done extensive promotions.
Mr. Charun Chuennaitom, Director of TAT’s Trang Office, said, “Trang is another alternative destination for regional and global visitors. The province has a unique local culture, abundance of natural resources and outstanding cuisine.”
Trang boasts breathtaking beaches along the mainland coast as well as offshore islands. Visitors can cruise the coastal waters and visit notable sights; such as, the enchanting Emerald Cave, the nearby Mu Ko Petra National Park, wildlife sanctuaries like Namtok Khao Chong and Khlong Lamchan Park where waterfalls, nature trails, and caves are awaiting exploration.
The waters off Trang have also become a refuge of the threatened dugong, the “sea cow” cousin of the manatee. Ko Libong is one of the best places to spot these docile sea mammals which have become the unofficial symbol of Trang.
Trang city, the provincial capital, is a centuries-old seaport with a multicultural population of Thai, Malay, and Hokkien Chinese residents, a mixture that is best appreciated while dining on the local cuisine or mingling with the locals at a local coffee shop.
The best time to visit Trang is between December and May.