Directory offers real-time data
The Tourism and Sports Ministry has launched an official online "Thailand Tourism Directory" to help visitors surf real-time travel data for all 77 provinces.
Mr Pongpanu says the directory will help operators create their own space online.
The move is aimed at providing tourists greater convenience, particularly those who are younger and often use social media or QR code scans to seek travel information.
Pongpanu Svetarundra, the tourism permanent secretary, said it took two months -- November and December last year -- to collect information on tourist attractions and services across the country, now documented in the new platform.
"The new application features a lot more tourism information, especially from local communities, so Thais and foreign tourists can get real-time information and plan their trips more easily," Mr Pongpanu said.
He said all of the information has been stored in the National Tourism Centralised Database for Services, which consists of more than 3,000 tourism products and is expected to increase gradually every day.
Both the directory and database were created to serve tourism operators and investors with verified information and data. Apart from aiding travellers, the data can also aid business planning. All of the information is available in Thai, English and Mandarin.
Mr Pongpanu said that in many instances tourists and business owners use partially incorrect or outdated information, causing them to make inaccurate decisions.
"With multiple languages and reliable data, this information will help both tourists and investors access and use [the directory] as needed," he said.
On Feb 16, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he had ordered tourism authorities to develop a new tourism database to offer the public more reliable information and enhance tourism competitiveness as part of the government's national economic policy, focusing on Thailand 4.0.
Mr Pongpanu said the ministry is planning to invite tourists, business owners and other interested parties to participate in the scheme by providing or reviewing their attractions and products.
"We will allow the public to produce information and share their experiences on the application," he said. "One objective is to help local operators or communities create their own space online so that they can have more opportunities to grow."
The ministry said international arrivals to Thailand from Jan 1 to Feb 28 totalled 7.1 million, up 15.5% year-on-year.
China remained the top source market with 2.1 million visitors, while Malaysians accounted for 580,000 and Laos supplied 440,000.