Brainstorming by the trillion
BANGKOK, 16 July 2012: How do you drive Thailand’s tourism earnings to Bt2 trillion in just three years?
The search for answers was on the agenda of a brainstorming session between the government and private sector, last week, on ways to build competitiveness this side of 2015.
The year is a benchmark as it marks the introduction of ASEAN’s single market environment.
Prime Minister’s Office Minister, Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, said the government’s policy for tourism to deliver Bt2 trillion by 2015, would face challenges. There were infrastructure and logistic issues; human resources development; tourism management; low tourism income; as well as a lack of new tourist attractions and development plans.
The government outlined priorities during the sessions:
Thailand needs to improve quality to tap health and wellness, golf, weddings and honeymoons, and ecotourism niche markets.
China, India, South Korea, Russia and Australia are the markets that have potential.
Thai tourism operators should establish partnerships in rapidly expanding markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Another priority would focus on maintaining market share in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Europe and the United States all established markets for Thailand.
Three measures were identified to develop destinations:
• Develop 100 top attractions and increase signs at the top 20 tourist attractions to make directions clear for independent visitors who travelling without guides;
• Increase new destinations and activities in 20 film locations nationwide and build more attractions in Bangkok such as the Royal Barge National Museum. Nakhon Ratchasima’s zoo should be upgraded and there should be support for mega events such as Miracle Thailand Grand Sale, Thailand Your Kitchen, and ASEAN Expo;
• Present investment opportunities to expand attractions. Bangkok’s Makkasan area could be a new entertainment centre. There are opportunities to build OTOP projects in the capital and there is a need to add top quality theme parks.
Build roads to link the eastern coast (2006 to 2014) in Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat and on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand and lower central plains concentrating on Samut Songkram, Petchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces.
Air: Increase airport carrying capacity at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang in Bangkok, as well as Chiang Mai; Chiang Rai; Hat Yai; and Phuket.
Build tourism confidence by improving security at major destinations, while improving communications to alert tourists on natural disasters.
Reduce passenger queues at checkpoints for passports and visas on arrival; exempt any applicable visa fees for the top five countries namely Japan, China, India, the United Kingdom and South Korea; and provide internet access and Wi-Fi in tourist attractions across the country.
Products and services
Launch a survey to match demand and supply for hotels in each segment during 2013 to 2015; develop services and tourism product standards at tourist attractions nationwide; organise seminar and training course for tourism human resources particularly language skill on Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Bahasa; and expand Halal food quality.