It was announced in April that Koh Chang remains to be a very popular holiday destination and the number of tourists has actually increased year on year.
The President of the Trat Tourism Association, Ms Charuwan Chintakanond, stated that tourism on the island remains to be popular despite the troubles in the country last year. It is particularly popular with backpackers and families, she revealed. In fact, the numbers of tourists peaked this year with numbers during the months of March and April being higher than ever before. According to figures released by Ms Charuwan, tourist numbers are up by 70% year on year.
This is a significant achievement, especially as many more popular destinations around the world are struggling to attract tourists. 5,000 room reservations were reported to have been made before the start of the summer season and this is not taking into account those who will turn up with no bookings. Songkran was extremely busy and saw thousands of rooms occupied for the holiday period.
Koh Chang is popular with international tourists, expats already living in Thailand and local Thais. It has something for everyone and is far less commercial than other popular destinations such as Koh Samui or Phuket. It is this lack of commercialism which attracts so many to the island.
It is also very popular with students from around Thailand. They visit on school trips throughout the year, especially at weekends. Therefore, if you are intending to arrive at a weekend, it is highly advisable to book in advance to secure a room.
The increase in tourist numbers is particularly good news for local businesses on the island who have suffered over the last few years. Many have closed due to the low tourist numbers in the crisis years, but those who have survived are now reaping the rewards and the new ventures which have opened up are seeing far better profits than ever before.
Ultimately, it is the tourists who will keep the island afloat and allow it to develop. While developers, local residents and the majority of tourists do not want it to become as commercial as the likes of Koh Samui, a better infrastructure will still need to be put in place to sufficiently deal with the growing number of tourists. It is the current tourists who are helping to pay for this infrastructure so it is something of a vicious circle. Without tourists, the infrastructure cannot be put in place to attract new and increasing numbers of tourists and therefore the island will not be able to develop.
Luckily however, these recent figures are proving that the island will develop and is currently growing in popularity among all groups. It is convenient to get to with the airport at Trat and can easily be driven to as the ferry allows cars on board. It is close enough from Bangkok to get to by bus, and the transport links to and from are reliable.
If you are looking for beautiful beaches, tranquil waters, good restaurants a selection of bars, nice hotels and a friendly, family atmosphere Koh Chang is the ideal spot.