Thailand aims to drive domestic tourism

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, (second left) chaired the meeting
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, (second left) chaired the meeting

Thailand will aim to boost its domestic tourism sector this year, the government has revealed.

In a briefing this week, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, said that new promotional campaigns would be coordinated with the private sector and airlines in 2016, with the aim of encouraging more Thais to travel.

“The Tourism Ministry and TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) have been assigned to brainstorm and introduce policies to drive the country’s tourism forward,” Khun Somkid explained. “[We need] to add more value to popular destinations as well as create new destinations through a story line to encourage travellers to explore new places.”

The Deputy PM also urged authorities to tap into the regional travel market with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. “The emphasis should be on developing joint travel packages, tourism products, air services and transport,” he said.

Thailand’s Minister of Tourism & Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said that campaigns such as ‘The 12 Hidden Gems’, ’12 Hidden Gems Plus’ and ‘According to Legend’ would be used to encourage Thai travellers to explore further afield, away from traditional tourist destinations.

“We are confident that specific campaigns… will boost the country’s domestic market this year,” she said. “We need to study the potential of new routes that build traffic to Pattaya’s U-Tapao, Krabi and Chiang Mai International Airports and link secondary destinations to neighbouring countries particularly Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

“Direct flights are needed to destinations promoted in the ’12 Hidden Gems’ and ’12 Hidden Gems Plus’ campaigns that will be our priority, but we need to estimate the province’s potential to attract traffic and airport capacity,” Ms Kobkarn added.

Thailand expects to generate THB2.41 trillion (US$66.3 billion) in tourism revenues this year, THB850bn of which is expected to come from domestic tourism.

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