Thailand Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul reiterated plans to position Thailand as a Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess and highlighted the necessity to create more synergies between tourism and sports.
The announcement was done during Thailand Networking Lunch for buyers, invited delegates and media, held on 2 November, the first day of the World Travel Market (WTM) 2015.
The Minister declared, “We are now focussing on enhancing visitor expenditure rather than growing visitor numbers. This means we need to provide value-added products and services, and motivate visitors to stay longer and spend more. At the same time, we need to ensure a balance between tourism growth and its social and environmental impact.”
The Thai Government recognises the tourism industry as one of its priority economic sectors, and to facilitate this sector, it has approved several infrastructure projects including the expansion of major international airports in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang), Phuket, and Pattaya.
There are plans to upgrade the cruise port in Phuket and build new facilities in Krabi, Ko Samui, and Surat Thani, as well as to kick off a Super Yacht market in Thailand.
Mrs Wattanavrangkul said, “As I am the Minister of Tourism and Sports, I would like to say that there are clear linkages between the two. There is a growing market of travellers who want to travel in Thailand and join sport activities. We are now ready to merge tourism and sports into one.”
Thailand is expanding its global profile as a venue for world-class sport events. Being the country of origin of Muay Thai, Thailand is also promoting the country as the best place to experience this great sport. Other sports events highlighted in Thailand’s tourism marketing plans are the yacht regattas, golfing, and biking.
Thailand is also set to leverage the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by introducing “Two Countries One Destination” packages to global travellers focusing on its connectivity with Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam.
The Minsiter explained that Thailand unique geographical positioning by sharing land borders with four ASEAN countries (Malaysia, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar) makes the Kingdom a logical gateway. ” In addition, the Asian Highway, a massive network of roads will make it possible to access all countries in ASEAN, just like in Europe. This means no shortage of touring options”, she highlighted.
The Thai tourism minister also used the WTM 2015 as a platform to introduce the new TAT Governor, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, who enjoyed a distinguished career in public service before taking up the top post at Thailand’s official tourism marketing arm in September 2015.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “I am honoured to be entrusted in taking an important role in the travel and tourism industry in advancing the socio-economic development of Thailand, as well as the ASEAN and Asia-Pacific regions. In order to develop our efficiency to further boost Thailand’s tourism industry, I have set my vision based on what I call the M.O.V.E. concept, comprising of M: Marketing & More; O: Operational Excellence; V: Value Creation; and E: Effectiveness, all are gearing toward positioning Thailand as a quality leisure destination.”
Thailand welcomed more than 24 million visitor arrivals in 2014, including six million arrivals from Europe, a market share of 24 percent. From January to September 2015, the kingdom recorded more than 22 million arrivals, a 27% increase over the same period of 2014. In 2015, Thailand is projecting to receive 29 million international visitors and earn US$ 39.9 billion (1.4 trillion Baht) in tourism income.