Dusit urges focus on second-tier areas
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Dusit urges focus on second-tier areas

Tourists explore the hills of Thong Pha Phum National Park in Kanchanaburi province. Photo courtesy of Thong Pha Phum National Park
Tourists explore the hills of Thong Pha Phum National Park in Kanchanaburi province. Photo courtesy of Thong Pha Phum National Park

The government should ensure quality tourism supply and encourage visitors to explore new destinations in second-tier areas if it wants propel the tourism industry, says Chanin Donavanik, vice-chairman of Dusit International.

Mr Chanin, also chairman of the executive committee, said the government's policy to promote tourism is on the right track, including expansion of visa-free schemes and the luxury tax reduction.

However, he said there were several issues the authorities should prioritise, such as improving tourism safety and convenience.

"Thailand should focus on increasing spending rather than counting on volume," said Mr Chanin, a former president of Thai Hotels Association.

"More importantly, it should steer them to second-tier cities, the same way Thai tourists are eager to explore new destinations in Japan."

As most accommodation and hotels in the country have not been registered, the government must accelerate registration to maintain high standards of service for tourists, he said.

Mr Chanin, a second-generation member of the family that owns Dusit, said Thai tourism has been recovering strongly this year as flights resume.

The growth of hotels in major Thai cities is continuing, thanks to stronger inbound markets from the Middle East, China, Southeast Asia and South Korea.

Only Japan had flights that were dominated by Thai outbound travellers, he said.

Mr Chanin said the hospitality sector should not engage in a price war as in the past, instead competing through quality service to attract guests.

Dusit International expects to reopen the Dusit Thani Bangkok hotel in September as part of the 46-billion-baht mixed-use project Dusit Central Park.

"Dusit Thani Bangkok aspires to be a destination for both old and young generations that can compete as a home-grown brand on the international stage," he said.

The group researched hotel renovation overseas to see how it could reposition itself to compete with newly built establishments, said Mr Chanin.

Dusit Thani Bangkok conducted big renovations in 1980 and 1996, which maintained the same building structure.

He said while the current project is a big change, the group is determined to keep Dusit Thani's personality as unchanged as possible.

The property's golden spire will return to the new hotel, which will offer higher-quality facilities and services, such as larger room sizes to cater to new demand, said Mr Chanin.

The project is 90% complete, with only interior decorations left to be finished, he said.

Before the reconstruction, the Dusit Thani Bangkok hotel contributed more than 20% of total revenue for the group.

With numerous large projects being built along Rama IV Road and the Silom area, Mr Chanin said these can make Bangkok a preferred destination, complementing each other rather than competing.

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