The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) plans to push Sukhothai's status as a World Heritage site in Asean in the next five years thanks to its good location.
Dasta believes Sukhothai can be a connecting point for other World Heritage sites in Asean.
Dasta's five-year plan through 2016 stipulates the agency will use Sukhothai as a connecting point to other World Heritage sites elsewhere in Asean.
It needs the backing of the Transport Ministry to add Sukhothai to the 745-kilometre high-speed train route that will pass through Bangkok, Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai.
The agency will also ask the ministry to add more flights from Sukhothai to other cities with other World Heritage sites in Asean such as Hue (Vietnam), Luang Prabang (Laos), the Bagan archaeological zone (Myanmar) and the Prambanan temple compound on Java (Indonesia).
A World Tourism Organization report said there were 217 million foreign visitors to Asean and Asia-Pacific last year or about 22% of the total 980 million tourists worldwide.
Thailand accounted for 19.2 million of those.
Nalikatibhag Sangsnit, Dasta's director-general, said 25 million travellers last year or 32% of total arrivals in the region wanted to visit World Heritage sites in Asean.
However, poor access to the sites was the biggest problem. If Thailand provides good and convenient transport links, it has the potential to be an Asean World Heritage tourism hub.
On April 26, 2011, the cabinet endorsed the announcement of the Designated Area of Sukhothai-Si Satchanalai-Kamphaeng Phet Historical Parks, the resolution of which will soon be published in the Royal Gazette.
About the author
- Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong