PHUKET TOWN: A sweeping plan for tourism in the Phuket region will give each destination a clear identity and a target market. The project, covering all southern provinces, seeks to suggest appropriate government budgets, and focus on the image of each spot. The plan will be overseen by MP Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr, as President of the Southern Thailand Tourism Improvement Planning committee. “We have to classify and differentiate each tourist destination so that it is unique,” K. Anchalee told the Gazette. Organizations with an interest in tourism met on Friday and suggested that Phuket should be classified as “A World-class Destination” for all tourists. Phang Nga’s focus would be eco-tourism, while Krabi would be classified as a “World Resort,” specializing in resort hotel operation. Last year Phuket brought in 80 billion baht for Thailand and the plan now is to “share the region’s resources more effectively,” she said. She admitted that the six billion baht spent on the Economic and Tourism Motivation Project last year had not achieved its aims and objectives and she wanted to avoid a repetition of that failure. “We believe that if we can collect more comments from private organizations and local government bodies, the tourism project will be planned in the right way,” she said. K. Anchalee said that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) should be the “baby sister” to support the ideas of regional managements and market them appropriately. Branding the project’s theme “Andamanization”, she said authorities in Southern Thailand’s areas would help each other by coordinating their approach to preserve each other’s tourism images. Once each province’s key attractions had been decided, K. Anchalee said, it would be easier for the tourists to decide what destinations they would visit. “Now we need to educate local governments to develop a real concept of each place.” Cooperation on budgets for tourism-related affairs will avoid unnecessary waste, she said. “Sustainable tourism” was the objective so that tourists get a favorable impression every time they come to Thailand.
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