Tourist sector concern over growth plan

BANGKOK - The private sector is concerned over the government's "directionless" plan to raise the country's tourism revenue to two trillion baht, pointing to the lack of coordination, concrete action plan and accountability.

"I fear that plan has no direction," Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) president Sisdivachr Cheewa-rattanaporn said on Wednesday.

The Atta has joined with the Thai Hotel Association (THA) in organising a seminar on the topic of the government's plan to promote tourism and economic policy on Jan 31.

Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong, who is also the finance minister, has been invited to speak at the event. Representatives of 500 to 600 tourism firms are expected to attend the event, which will aim to prepare them for changes in market and the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in December 2015.

The feasibility of the government's two trillion baht goal will also be discussed at the seminar, Mr Sisdivachr said.

Atta is asking the government to reassure tourists by addressing Thailand’s negative image on safety. Businesses must also be informed how they will be affected by the advent of the AEC how to prepare accordingly, he said. 

It has been projected that this year Thailand will see 10% growth in the number of tourists entering the country,  or about 24 million compared to 22.5 million in 2012. About four million from the total number of tourists are expected to book their travel plans through Atta. This group consists of big spenders with average outlays of 40,000 baht per day and an average stay of six to seven days. 

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