TAT plans to upgrade second-tier areas

TAT plans to upgrade second-tier areas

Promotion of small hotels, electric cars

Domestic tour packages are offered at the Thai Teaw Thai Fair held in Bangkok last month. Apichart Jinakul
Domestic tour packages are offered at the Thai Teaw Thai Fair held in Bangkok last month. Apichart Jinakul

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wants to increase tourism in second-tier areas by improving small hotels and promoting electric vehicle (EV) travel as oil prices surge.

Somradee Achitchong, deputy governor for domestic marketing at the TAT, said guidelines were developed to adjust the domestic marketing plan for this year and next, with an announcement planned for July so that both public and private sectors can align their marketing plans.

Ms Somradee said one change involves incorporating contingency plans into marketing schemes to address unexpected events or risks that could affect the TAT's budget, such as the temporary use of the fiscal 2023 budget because of the delay in approving the fiscal 2024 budget.

For this year and next, the agency also plans to address the weaknesses and loopholes in the government's plan to promote tourism in second-tier areas, she said.

Ms Somradee said hotel accommodation in second-tier provinces is limited in terms of size and number of rooms, meaning new marketing gimmicks are needed to attract both foreign and domestic tourists, especially for budget travellers who prefer to stay in boutique lodging that provides style and comfort, especially good mattresses and pillows.

The surge in oil prices resulted in a spike in airfares, creating an opportunity for rail tourism and EVs as eco-friendly and sustainable modes of travel as more charging stations are added and distance for an EV charge rises to 400 kilometres or more, she said.

The long-term push to promote tourism in secondary areas helps local economies and avoids overcrowding at popular areas.

In April 2022, the agency partnered with Great Wall Motor (GWM) to launch an ecotourism programme dubbed Green Road Trip, an EV caravan trip from Bangkok to Hua Hin to promote local tourism while encouraging Thais to use more EVs.

Ms Somradee said the private sector is worried about the lack of preparations in secondary areas as most of these provinces still lack facilities and services that are essential components to promote sustainable tourism.

First, road development is needed to increase trust among tourists about health and safety in secondary areas, she said. Development of the EV repair and maintenance sector needs to meet international standards, not only to support safe tourism, but also to increase local employment and income, said Ms Somradee.

Do you like the content of this article?