Thai tourism minister proposes bolstering sector for sustainable tourism

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post.

To boost the national economy, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, has put forth a proposal to prioritise tourism as a national agenda, with a focus on making Thailand a destination for sustainable tourism. He strongly encourages his successor to continue this endeavour.

Phiphat’s aspirations don’t end there, as he also suggested elevating the status of the tourism ministry, transforming it into a key economic establishment.

“Thailand doesn’t have time to restart from zero. The tourism industry needs a drive from everybody to run faster and be able to compete with other countries.”

Sanctioned by the National Tourism Policy Committee, the proposed plan presents both immediate and long-term strategies. It also calls for cross-agency collaboration involving multiple ministries and agencies, Bangkok Post reported.

For example, the Ministry of Natural Resources is expected to join forces in the venture of harnessing tourism potential within national parks. Meanwhile, the Tourism Department has been given the task to utilise technology in improving its operator enlisted system to enhance service quality.

In line with this ambition, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) set a goal to augment the tourism sector’s contribution to the national GDP by 25% by 2027. This is in anticipation of approximately 70 million foreign tourists.

Phiphat further stated that future policies should involve targeting global sports events and festivals making Thailand a go-to hub for sports, events, and leisure, thereby, increasing average tourist stays and promoting wealth distribution within local communities.

In pursuit of realising Thailand as a sustainable tourism hotspot, initiatives that have introduced low-carbon tourism in Southern Thailand, specifically in Phangnga and Krabi, should persist.

However, the 300 baht tourism fee may be subject to further postponement due to ongoing preparations regarding collection methods by relevant organisations.

The minister also stated that the decision to extend the closing time of night entertainment venues to 4am in specific areas, as suggested by his ministry, falls under the purview of the forthcoming Cabinet.

Speaking at the annual strategic direction conference held by TAT, Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing, Thapanee Kiatphaibool, who is set to succeed as governor come September, said TAT is setting its sights on new promising markets such as Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia to propel the market forward in the next year.

In addition to promoting Thailand as an eco-friendly destination, she highlighted plans to ensure the fair distribution of tourism wealth to local communities and secondary cities.

Thapanee further mentioned the agency’s intent to provide seamless travel experiences by connecting land and air travel to lure tourists from China through Laos via high-speed trains, and from Malaysia using land borders.

In a bid to stimulate the domestic market, the agency has planned year-round promotions to display distinctive regional identities, she added.

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