Tourism authority sets out plans for Thai tourism growth
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Tourism authority sets out plans for Thai tourism growth

Budget seeks better tourist dispersal

Visitors enjoy a panorama view of the Thai-Lao border along the Mekong River in Nong Khai province, one of the secondary provinces promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Visitors enjoy a panorama view of the Thai-Lao border along the Mekong River in Nong Khai province, one of the secondary provinces promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has unveiled its direction for fiscal 2024 with a budget of 5 billion baht aiming to grow off-peak customers, increase spending per trip by 7%, and distribute income to a greater variety of destinations.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said fairness in revenue distribution through a "sharing economy" and making Thailand a "Tourism for All" destination will be key strategies for the next fiscal year when it starts in October 2023.

He said the 5-billion-baht budget is an increase from 3.25 billion baht in fiscal 2023.

Even though tourism revenue is expected to fully recover to the 2019 level of 3 trillion baht, Mr Yuthasak said TAT hopes to see better distribution of tourists to secondary provinces, as well as improved dispersal of tourists from the high season to the whole year.

"We will create more opportunities and improve access to ensure that all people can travel to Thailand," he said.

Mr Yuthasak said issuing travel vouchers to boost tourism in secondary cities, as suggested by Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of the proposed coalition government, is a measure that could be implemented.

Mr Yuthasak, who will end his second term as governor on Aug 31, said lessons learned from the pandemic helped TAT formulate a new plan for next year, as well as implement crisis management for possible contingencies in the future.

He said the industry should build "tourism security" to make itself resilient through a four-step development combining the public and private sectors.

The first measure involves strengthening the supply chain by deciding which products and services must be upgraded to match demand, while local communities should be developed to receive a greater amount of tourists through more distribution channels.

Support and infrastructure for tourist services must be built to improve their safety and ease of travel while in Thailand, said Mr Yuthasak.

The country must adopt safety standards that apply to all segments, especially for people with disabilities, he said.

Enhancing the digital transformation can help to maximise tourism revenue if the industry can improve its digital literacy, reaping benefits from technology, said Mr Yuthasak.

Factors such as natural disasters, a pandemic or a global recession are out of the industry's control, so regulators should prepare for external risks by installing management plans, he said.

"Thai tourism can survive any crisis, avoid severe impacts and recover faster than during the pandemic if we build resilient tourism through these suggestions," said Mr Yuthasak.

The TAT is slated to discuss implementation of the 2024 plan during its annual meeting between July 11-13 in Pattaya.

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