BANGKOK, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Thailand on Sunday formally launches a ferry service across the Gulf of Thailand, linking tourist spots Pattaya and Hua Hin to boost tourism and economy.
The service operates daily as the ferry leaves Pattaya's Bali Hai Pier for Hua Hin at 10:30 a.m. and leaves Hua Hin for the opposite side at about 01:30 p.m.
It takes about two hours for a single trip, compared with five to six hours by bus or van.
A single trip costs 1,250 baht (36 U.S. dollars), but a special price of 999 baht (28 dollars) was offered this month to commemorate revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, said Preecha Tantipura, chief executive officer of the ferry's operator Royal Passenger Liner Co.,.
Preecha said his company which received concessions to operate the service from the government has only one ferry, a double-decker high speed Catamaran boat, but there will be more ferries to join the route soon, adding that their ferry may carry vehicles in the future.
"After a month-long free operation, I can say we are ready to launch it formally, and we found positive feedback from the market," Preecha said.
The company started to provide free ferry service for passengers to cross the Gulf since January.
Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Thailand's minister of transport, presided over the opening ceremony of ferry service, saying that it is an important project that will benefit Thailand's economy as it cuts travel time between the two sides of Gulf and will help tourist spots to attract more visitors.