Expensive ticket to paradise

Low-cost airplanes have changed the tourism industry significantly in recent years. Now you can reach holiday destinations around the world at an affordable cost. In Asia, the largest low-cost AirAsia aircraft connects the centers of Southeast Asia with numerous holiday destinations in the region.

Now everyone can get a cheap plane ticket from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta or Bangkok to Bali, Phuket, Penang, Hainan, Macau, even new, less popular emerging destinations like Krabi in Thailand, Guilin in China or Bandung in Indonesia.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with Koh Samui, the newly emerging tropical island in the southern part of Thailand. Flights to Koh Samui are quite limited and expensive. A flight from Phuket to Ko Samui, which lasts only half an hour, costs much more than two hours of flight from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket.

AirAsia flies to Krabi much less visited, so if we are studying the preparation of the plane, I think they are much more than ready. The residents of Koh Samui explained that the situation is caused by the absence of the airport. The only airport in Koh Samui is owned and operated by Bangkok Air only to serve its own flight, with the exception of Thai Airways. Without competition, Bangkok Air retains the power to dictate any price they wish.

From the point of view of tourism development, it is a pretty bad situation, especially since Koh Samui is a very potential island destination. In addition to the beautiful and quiet white-sand beaches, it also serves as a gateway to the smaller islands that surround it, including Koh Phangan. So attractive that some tourists are willing to pay the price, but still, the vast majority choose to save their money and elsewhere.

Wisna Wedhana, general director of Private Leisure International, considered the air fare as an important barrier even for its wealthy clients, as it provides private accommodation in villas for high-level tourists for whom money is not really a problem. "We have many interested customers who decide to go to another place as soon as they know the price of the ticket," he complained. "It may be fine if you travel alone, but if you are a family of 10, it is a significant amount of money."

Actually, there are some other ways to get to Koh Samui. You can drive from Phuket or Krabi to the pier in Khanom and take a short ferry ride to Koh Samui. Buses and air-conditioned trains are available from Bangkok to the south of Suratthani, where you can take a short trip to the Khanom pier. The super luxurious Orient Express train also stops at Suratthani. Another alternative is to take a yacht from Bangkok directly to Koh Samui. "Yes, but nobody is comparable to a flight, how do you expect people to take a 10-hour overland trip after a long trip from Europe," Wisna said of the alternatives.

Before the authority finds an affordable transportation solution, maybe we should see it from the positive point of view, since it is only available to those who are prepared to pay more or bear the pain, Koh Samui remains a peaceful tropical paradise .