02 Feb 2012
Tourism will prosper this year, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told travel representatives on Monday, but warned competition would be tough in the lead-up to the adoption of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
She opened the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations’ seminar on the government policy towards Thailand’s tourism industry saying the country welcomed 19.09 million tourists in 2011 and generated Bt730,000 million in revenue, despite past political discord and floods.
“In the near future, tourism will face fierce competition that will require cooperation from all parties and a clear strategy to develop the industry to usher in the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, as well as to revive tourist confidence in the country.”
Identifying Thailand’s role as a gateway to the Mekong Region, she urged tour operators to tap emerging markets such as India, identifying the lucrative wedding package segment as a place to start.
She urged federation members to look at the wider picture, the arrival of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 and events that they could tap to improve tourism revenue outside of the travel sector.
“Thailand will host the 2nd World Economic Forum, 30 May to 1 June in Bangkok, which is a vital opportunity to boost tourism revenue and negotiate on behalf of tourism, due to the presence of business leaders,” she told the seminar.
She confirmed the importance of domestic tourism in the post-flood recovery phase, adding that provincial governors had been encouraged to highlight tourism and raise competitiveness while creating more travel products.
Government priorities in relation to tourism include developing transport networks, such as rail and road networks, restoring historical tourist attractions and infrastructure, resolving water management system problems and establishing funds to support community tourism.
Source - ttrweekly