Museums in tourism drive
Museums are trying to create a museum culture in Thailand by pushing educational tourism.
It's quite challenging to create a museum culture in the digital era, so museums have to keep adapting themselves, said Rames Promyen, director-general of the National Discovery Museum Institute (Museum Siam).
He said millennials have a changing perspective towards museums, showing more interest in visiting those that were considered overlooked or outdated.
Museum Siam is located on Sanam Chai Road near the Grand Palace. The number of visitors rose sharply after the opening of the MRT Blue Line extension in July, as Sanam Chai station is in front of the museum.
Visitors have increased to 1,400-1,600 during the weekend from 700-800, and weekday volume has doubled to 600-1,000.
From January to October, Museum Siam welcomed 171,359 visitors, of which 35,586 were international tourists. Last year's visitors totalled 191,226, with just 12,000 foreigners.
To create a museum culture, Museum Siam is collaborating with 63 museums nationwide to introduce the Thailand Museum Pass from Dec 1, offering entry to participating museums. Of the 63, 31 museums are located in Bangkok and nearby provinces, including Nitasrattanakosin, Banglamphu Museum, Siam Serpentarium and Tooney Toy Museum.
The pass, which costs 299 baht, is available to both Thais and foreigners and is valid for one year from the date of first use.
Mr Rames said more museums will be added, as well as special discounts from tourism-related operators taking part in the programme.
He expects sales of the Thailand Museum Pass to exceed the Muse Pass, issued exclusively by Museum Siam, which sold 8,600 tickets last year.
Foreign tourists are a target group, as the pass aims to promote new tourism products alongside popular attractions like beaches and the Grand Palace.
Mr Rames said tourists are shifting their focus from mass tourism to cultural and heritage tourism, meaning museums need to beef up to meet their needs and provide new experiences while travelling.
Gp Capt Paitoon Lailert, deputy of the administrative division of the Royal Thai Air Force on behalf of the National Aviation Museum, said the museum inspires people, especially the younger generation, to explore topics like aviation.
The National Aviation Museum is a participant in the Thailand Museum Pass. Gp Capt Paitoon said experiences from the museum can ignite a lifelong passion in young people that leads to future careers in aviation.
The museum welcomes about 180,000 visitors a year.