State to upgrade over 20 Otop villages

State to upgrade over 20 Otop villages

The villagers of Ban Phra Bat Huai Tom in Lamphun province weave cloth in their free time for the village's Otop shop. Karnjana Karnjanatawe
The villagers of Ban Phra Bat Huai Tom in Lamphun province weave cloth in their free time for the village's Otop shop. Karnjana Karnjanatawe

The government is committed to upgrading more than 20 One Tambon One Product (Otop) tourism villages in second-tier tourism provinces this year, listing them on the Tourism Authority of Thailand's website to boost domestic tourism.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who chaired a meeting on Wednesday of the committee handling the Otop programme, ordered related agencies to speed up upgrading Otop tourism villages, notably in second tier-tourism provinces, and to promote Otop products and services more via e-commerce.

He said the Otop tourism villages have been developed for over a decade and many could potentially upgrade their products and services.

There are 111 Otop tourism villages under the supervision of the Interior Ministry, which identifies eight key routes: Lanna Civilisation route; East Coast route; Northeastern Civilisation route; West Coast route; Central Chao Phraya River Way of Life; Andaman route; Mekong River lifestyle route; and World Heritage Site route.

Mr Somkid said related agencies, including state banks such as Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives have been ordered to provide soft loans.

The Commerce Ministry, the Industry Ministry and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation were also ordered to help develop the quality and innovation of Otop products.

State-owned PTT Plc was ordered to provide space at its filling stations for Otop products.

In the fiscal 2020 budget, the government earmarked 363 million baht to support the Otop scheme, much lower than the 901 million baht in fiscal 2019 and the 1.24 billion baht in 2018.

Mr Somkid said further plans are afoot to introduce fresh measures to stimulate domestic tourism and offset lower foreign arrivals because of the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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