BANGKOK, 3 May 2017: Association of Thai Travel Agents says the association will play a key role to help the country’s tourism industry grow as well as boost its members’ business.
Speaking at the association’s monthly meeting, last week, the newly elected president, Vichit Prakobgosol, reassured members that the incoming committee would work and adopt policies to help develop the tourism sector in a sustainable manner.
His campaign slogan was “Forward Together Team” with an emphasis on building stability, prosperity and sustainability.
They are: Increase association revenue through various marketing strategies; control office expenditures; build human resources and skills, improve information systems and create networking opportunities between the public and private sectors.
“This year, we expect tourist arrivals through the association’s members to be very close to last year’s figure…last year the country tourism was shaken by the crackdown on illegal tours and that prompted a restructuring in the tourism industry…the first half of this year will see recovery, while tourism in the second half will be back to normal, or even increasing over last year.”
He added: “China, India and ASEAN, especially Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, are potential markets that tourism operators should tap…we should also maintain our links with traditional markets like Europe, while East Europe should offer new opportunities for tourism operators.”
Last year, the association handled 5,377,843 travellers at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports representing a 3.04% increase from 5,219,066 in 2015.
The figures represent tourists who have booked a tour through a member travel company. The count is based on the handling fee that the Airports of Thailand charges tour companies to have the right to meet-and-greet their clients at the two airports in Bangkok.
Members have called on the association to extend the count to other gateway airports such as Phuket and Chiang Mai due to the increase in direct international flights.
The ATTA president is keen to establish closer ties with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to organise roadshows to overseas markets to build high-yield tourism.
ATTA is also keen to resolve issues with tour guides and ensure there are enough proficient guides to serve the various markets.
The association’s secretary, Adit Chairattananont, added that the association will push for a comprehensive master plan to manage the rapid increase in tourist arrivals focusing on spreading tourists to secondary destinations, calculating destination carrying capacity and improving logistic and infrastructure development management.
“We need to embark on the same path to help tighten tourism competitiveness… tourism human resources development and setting up tourism standards and a tourism academy.”
Community-based tourism will be highlighted in the plan to spread tourists from overcrowded destinations and offer real local experiences for travellers, he said.