BANGKOK, 5 January 2018: This is the season of brainstorming for the travel industry and the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Weerasak Kowsurat, kicked it off with a session, Thursday, citing the well-worn themes of sustainable, safe and clean tourism.
He presented the opening inspiration at a day-long event; “A Brainstorming Session to Establish a Rehabilitation Framework for Tourism Across the Country,”
The session was hosted and organised by the Ministry’s Tourism Development Division.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports permanent secretary, Pongpanu Svetarundra, and Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Department of Tourism director, Anan Wongbunchari, led the session in Bangkok, attended by more than 200 representatives from government agencies.
Commenting on the theme “clean, safe and sustainable” Weerasak noted:”Broadly speaking, openness is an issue and it is the cornerstone to ensure today’s brainstorming achieves a conclusion.”
Sustainable success in tourism is not just the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism, he noted. “We have to persuade other government agencies, including local government organisations, to join so we can plan together especially to identify what we want to achieve in tourism and where to expand.”
Noting that tourism growth would continue in 2018, he confirmed the country welcomed 35,323,948 visitors, a rise of 8.59% over the 2016 performance (32,529,588).
Weerasak is no stranger to tourism, but since he was last involved as a minister of tourism in a previous administration the challenges have changed from a tourism shortfall to the threat of a tourism overload.
He must now navigate a dramatic shift in travel from major tourist destinations to secondary destinations fast, or face the prospect of airports and destinations being overwhelmed as visits creep up to 40 million over the next few years.
As the brainstorming session hinted the challenge focuses on the need to deliver a clean, safe and sustainable tourism products.
“Tourism will continue to grow,” he said, claiming it was due to marketing success that attracted tourists from all over the world to visit Thailand.
But he warned that to maintain quality, improvements in infrastructure were urgently needed.
“Development of tourism resources at all levels has been implemented in the past, but not systematically, so we have to organise the system to work together and work more closely with local government and agencies in different regions”.
Tourism planning and discussions should be inclusive of the private sector, the community and civil society to be successful, he told delegates.
“To be more involved in the development and improvement of local tourism and to move in the right direction to achieve, clean, safe and sustainable tourism we must work hand-in-hand with the private sector,” he concluded.