Princess highlights safety at travel fair
Princess Ubolratana has listed safety for tourists as a priority task for Thailand to improve its tourism industry.
The princess said tourism is an important industry for the economy despite the country's economic slowdown and unstable global conditions.
"Thailand is well-known for its beach destinations, but we must highlight community-based tourism in second-tier provinces with diverse new products to attract more visitors," she told media during her visit to World Travel Market (WTM) 2019 at ExCeL London on Monday.
"It is essential each secondary province ensure that the infrastructure, accommodation and transport are ready to facilitate tourists and are safe," Princess Ubolratana said.
Sustainability has become a global trend, and the princess encouraged everyone to use less single-use plastic and dispose of garbage properly to help reduce ocean pollution.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) brought 42 operators to promote Thai tourism and sustainability at WTM 2019, which ends today.
Exhibitors at the WTM's Thai pavilion comprise 31 hotels, five tour operators, five tourism-related operators and a spa service. Of the total, 27 are new attendees at WTM London.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said Thailand expects to welcome about 40 million visitors this year, which could cause future challenges.
The minister has called for greater focus on preservation of national resources to develop sustainable tourism.
Moreover, community-based tourism will be a commitment from the ministry to enhance distribution of tourism income to rural areas and help develop local communities in the long run, Mr Phiphat said.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the pavilion at WTM London has the concept "Open to the New Shades of Thailand". The use of natural products such as lotus petals to replace non-polluting materials is showcased, with lotus-related activities for visitors to enjoy such as the demonstrations of lotus petal miang kham (bite-sized leaf wraps), lotus petal tea and a lotus earrings clay workshop.
The pavilion provides information about emerging destinations with unique local lifestyles, especially those provinces that provide lotus sightseeing such as Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani and Phatthalung.
Opening the pavilion at WTM London is vital to boosting tourism in the European market, especially from Britain.
Thailand welcomed 719,599 travellers from the UK during January to September, up 0.8% from the same period last year, generating 55.7 billion baht in income, up 2.2%.
The young generation, eco-tourism enthusiasts, cruise tourists, honeymooners and weddings are major markets.
Mr Yuthasak expects the number of tourists from Britain to stay flat at around 950,000 this year for some 73.6 million baht, a 1.6% increase from last year, because of the challenges of a no-deal Brexit and the closure of British tour operator Thomas Cook.