The new Thailand Museum Pass has been officially introduced last week and is available from December in 38 museums across the Kingdom. It offers free access to 64 museums in a large number of Thai provinces for only THB299 (US$1o) and can easily be written off after only two visits in a museum. It is available for both locals and visitors.
The initiative comes from Museum Siam, which is also the main branch of the National Discovery Museum Institute, an official body looking after the development of museums and learning centres for sciences and education. The pass has been existing already for a couple of years but it has never been promoted on a large scale, keeping a rather low profile. The former Museum Pass was only purchased by 8,600 people last year.
The new pass is a premium version. “It includes new privileges such as discount at coffee places, restaurants, transporation or in our shops and will also open the doors to special events such as Museum nights,”Sukumai Phadunsilp, Director of the Office of the National Discovery Museum Institute President.
In contrary to previous editions, more companies do endorese the pass such as the Tourism Authority of Thailand, KTC Credit Card, the Nation groupe media or Thai Lionair. The pass is valid in 64 institutions across the country, helping its users to save the equivalent of THB 4,000 if they were paying for all the places they can visit. Just by visiting Siam Museum combined with Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, the pass is already written off.
However, not all the museums participate to the new scheme. “The problem is that we have so many layers of administration at many levels despite the fact that we are a State organisation and that they are many other museums which are also State-owned. Our initiative is already supported by the public and private sector. But we would love to see more institutions to join our scheme such as the National Museum, the National Gallery or the Jim Thompson House. We already initiated discussions to see how we could better cooperate but there is nothing concrete at the moment,” adds Sukumai Phadunsilp.
The pass desires to give Thai the desire to go to the museums and shake up the idea of boring dusty institutions. ” Museums in our pass upgraded already their standards and integrate always English explanations and English-speaking staff,” says Mrs Phanunsilp.
English is seen as an important element to promotion. According to Sukumai Phadunsilp, the fact that foreign tourists are more used than Thai to visit museums, they will help to the promotion of the Museums Pass’ various institutions.
Another subject to discussion is to have museums opening later. This comes slowly with a few institutions such as Museum Siam, Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall or BACC opened later. But more should be done to turn the museum scene in Thailand more attractive.
The Thailand Museum Pass is on sale at 39 institutions nationwide and is valid one year from the date of registration.