BANGKOK, 19 July 2019: The new Minister of Tourism and Sports, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, met with agency heads and executives on his first day in the office on 18 July.
The message was clear. “Let’s focus on working together to ensure the safety of tourists visiting Thailand.”
Tourism remained a strong pillar of the country’s economy driving growth, he explained to invited media reporting on his first day at work.
But the Minister kept to a simple storyline.
“The urgent agenda is to focus on security and expand niche markets while dispersing visitors to secondary destinations.”
Over 85% of all tourism revenue remains in the wallets of 22 provinces. The challenge remains the same for the new Minister as what faced his predecessor. How on earth do you disperse tourism income to the remaining 55 provinces?
He gave a hint that his policy would encourage niche market tourism, involving communities and presenting authentic visitor experiences for travellers beyond the popular destinations.
But the briefing quickly returned the core focus creating a safe environment.
To improve safety involves more than security agencies or the police, he said. “It requires engaging communities to care and keep an eye on visitors.”
Sports Tourism was given an airing as the Minister recognised the successes of the past year identifying the Moto GP competition in Buri Ram province as one of the positive stories.
“It is a difficult task to attract the right events, but once we accept the challenge, we must do our best. I will look at examples from the past ministers for guidelines. What is good? What was not so good and we will develop and improve the right strategy,” he concluded.
Thailand is targeting around 40 million tourist arrivals this year.