Tourism Ministry readies campaigns

Tourism Ministry readies campaigns

Phiphat: Push for later closing times
Phiphat: Push for later closing times

The Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to introduce short- and longer-term marketing plans to encourage more spending among foreign tourists.

One campaign is the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale Passport Privileges, offering discounts of up to 70% at department stores from November to January 2020.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said such marketing aims to increase tourist spending in Thailand, hoping to counter the negative effects of the baht's appreciation.

Another ministry effort is the possibility of extending closing hours of night-time entertainment establishments in tourist areas to 4am from 2am to promote the economy.

Mr Phiphat has instructed the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to conduct a study and gather opinions from venues in popular tourism spots such as Pattaya, Patong in Phuket and Ao Nang in Krabi.

He said the extension of closing times will not cover nightspots in Bangkok such as Thong Lor and Ekamai, which are crowded by local visitors.

The measure will be resubmitted for cabinet consideration some time next year after it was put off two months ago.

For longer-term plans, the ministry hopes to sign next month a memorandum of understanding with the Natural Resources and Environment, Transport, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Education and Public Health ministries for cooperation on tourism.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the strong baht this year is likely to lower income from foreign tourists from the earlier target of 2.04 trillion baht.

Mr Yuthasak called on the Bank of Thailand to provide short-term stability for the baht so tourism operators can plan their business for next year.

According to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, foreign arrivals in the first nine months stood at 29.5 million, up 3.5% year-on-year, generating 1.42 trillion baht in tourism revenue, up 3.5%.

For domestic tourism, Mr Yuthasak expects Thais to make at least 180 million trips, generating 1.05 trillion baht in tourism income this year, though the strong baht has encouraged Thais to travel abroad.

He said average domestic travel among Thais equates to 2.8 trips per person per year, but the TAT plans to raise the number to three trips next year.

The authority is also determined to increase tourism revenue among small cities next year by promoting new destinations and travel to communities.

The ratio of tourism revenue between big cities and the 55 second-tier provinces will be changed to 65:35 from 70:30 next year.

"The key to developing tourism in secondary provinces is to lure more tourists to those areas first," Mr Yuthasak said.

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