Sornsak Sansombat, the department’s director-general, announced the plan after holding a public hearing with local people and authorities, tourism operators and other stakeholders to listen to their opinions and suggestions on the proposed improvements of the Thap Lamu Port and Kuraburi Port.
The Thap Lamu Port serves local and foreign visitors to the Similan Islands while the Kuraburi Port serves travellers to Surin Islands.
The improvements are needed as the ports were becoming dilapidated and very crowded, Mr Sornsak said. Therefore, the revamp was needed to meet increasing demand and provide more convenience and safety for tourists.
Mr Sornsak said the department had hired experts from Khon Kaen University to conduct feasibility study to ensure the economic, engineering and environmental suitability of the new facilities. The study also aims to promote sustainable tourism for the Phangnga's Andaman islands, an ideal place for diving.
The department would keep the public and all stakeholders informed about the project’s details and further public hearings would be organised, the marine department chief added.