The Pheu Thai Party is looking to refurbish airports all over the country and also build two new airports — one in Chiang Mai and the other in Phuket — as part of its aim to boost tourism, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Thursday.
He said the government led by his party would go on the offensive to spur tourism, which accounts directly and indirectly for about one-fifth of the country’s economy.
All airports throughout the country will be refurbished to welcome tourists from all over the world, he added.
Mr Srettha said the party had also set a target to build new airports in Chiang Mai and Phuket, two major destinations for local and international travellers.
In Chiang Mai, the new airport should make the arrival and departure of tourists during the night more comfortable. The existing airport has some limitations, he said.
Mr Srettha said the new Phuket airport should be exclusively for international flights. The existing airport handles both international and domestic flights and has reached its full capacity of 14 million passengers a year.
Phuket International Airport has only one runway and the surrounding terrain does not allow for a second runway to be built. Airports of Thailand earlier proposed building a “Phuket Airport No 2”, which would actually be located in nearby Phangnga province, but that plan is currently on hold.
The Chiang Mai airport is currently undergoing the first phase of an expansion project to increase its capacity to 16.5 million passengers per year, from around 11 million now. It is expected to be completed in 2029.