The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) projects the Northeast region will be the second most popular destination among domestic tourists thanks to a variety of attractions.
Tourists wait to see the sunrise at Pha Nok Aen at Phu Kradung in Loei province during the New Year holiday. PATIPAT JANTHONG
TAT's northeastern region office director Pattamat Wongpattanasiri said the Northeast will boost domestic tourism.
It estimates domestic tourism will grow by 3% to 115.36 million trips, with revenue rising 6% to 537 billion baht.
Tourists visiting the Northeast will grow by 2% to 22.2 million and tourism revenue will rise 5% to 47 billion baht.
"Many Northeast destinations will be very popular for local travellers, especially those from Bangkok, because of convenient access," Mrs Pattamat said.
In the past, the Northeast, or Isan, was ignored by general tourists, but collaboration between private and government sectors led the area to be more popular and generated higher revenue.
Main interesting routes are the Way of Love: Khao Yai-Pak Chong-Wang Nam Kiew; the Route along the Mekong River: Loei-Nong Khai-Mukdahan-Nakhon Phanom; and the Culture Route taking in Chiang Khan in Loei.
The region has many well-known Buddhist monks such as Phra Dharma Visuddhi Mangala, commonly known as Luangta Maha Bua.
With the positive trend, TAT will stage the Amazing I-San Fair 2013 from Jan 24-29 at Bangkok's Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
It will also organise a tourism fair in Udon Thani from Feb 7-10.
TAT expects the Amazing I-San Fair to attract at least 30,000 visitors and generate revenue of 10 million baht.
Thawatchai Arunyik, deputy governor for domestic marketing, said this year's tourism policy focuses on collaboration with neighbouring countries to prepare for the launch of the Asean Economic Community in 2016.
"We have also seriously promoted environmentally friendly tourism and culture. Isan is suitable for this policy," Mr Thawatchai said.
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- Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong