Tourism operators call for action

Tourism operators call for action

Goal of B2 trillion by 2015 needs clarity

Tourism operators have called on the government to clarify policies and measures aimed at achieving the target of boosting industry revenues to 2 trillion baht per year in 2015.

Tourism revenue was estimated at 1.14 trillion baht last year.

Business operators attending a workshop chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday said the government must be clear about what it plans to do to reach the target.

Authorities estimate average spending by tourists will rise to 4,979 baht a day in 2015, up from 4,096 baht last year.

In 2015, some 28.6 million foreign visitors are expected, with an average stay of 10 nights.

Growth in arrivals is expected from China, India, Russia, South Korea and the Middle East, while visitors from the UK, Australia, the US, Japan and Malaysia will continue to be major contributors to the trade.

Popular markets are Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Krabi.

A report by the World Tourism Organization projects 1.169 billion travellers worldwide in 2015, with 22.7% or 265 million from Asia-Pacific.

The group said of the 1.6 billion travellers expected in 2020, the highest growth rate will be in Asia-Pacific.

Various projects in Thailand _ man-made attractions and infrastructure development including road construction _ have been proposed, while the private sector needs the government to make decisions on investment.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattaporn, president of the Thai Travel Agents Association, suggested an action plan be drafted to solve existing problems and outline new investment projects.

Existing problems include deteriorating tourist spots, a lack of safety measures, the crowded Suvarnabhumi airport and the lack of facilities for visitors, he said.

The government needs to announce clear promotional privileges to support new investment in order to create confidence among investors.

Currently, there is no clear policy, so the private sector is hesitant to invest.

Three strategies to develop the tourism industry have been planned _ development of infrastructure and facilities, rehabilitation of tourism attractions and development of new investment and services.

Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan, a Prime Minister's Office minister, has ordered relevant agencies to prioritise infrastructure investment due to the limited budget.

A subcommittee is expected to be formed to conduct feasibility studies on man-made projects including development of Bangkok's Makkasan area as a new tourism spot, establishment of a distribution centre for the One Tambon One Product scheme, construction of a world-class theme park, development of links between marine tourism routes and development of Klong Toey as a new spot for water tourism.

The private sector has already proposed an Asean family theme park on 2,000 rai on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand.

It will feature lodging, amusement rides and a shopping centre.

The Rural Roads Department has proposed extending the 118-kilometre road along the eastern coast from Rayong to Chanthaburi and Trat provinces.

The construction of a 7-billion-baht, 683-km road with a bicycle lane along the western coast from Samut Songkhram to Phetchaburi and Ranong provinces has also progressed.

Since construction began in 2009, 155 km have been built.

The project is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

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