New tourism minister highlights visitor-safety

New tourism minister highlights visitor-safety

Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan worships holy spirits at the  ministry's head office in Bangkok at the start of his first day at the office on Thursday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan worships holy spirits at the ministry's head office in Bangkok at the start of his first day at the office on Thursday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The new tourism and sports minister has made the setting of safety standards to regain the confidence of foreign tourists his priority task.

Speaking on arrival for his first day at work, Pipat Ratchakitprakan said the ministry would engage volunteer police in communities to supervise visitors in each tourism area. The initiative will start later this year.

The minister will also talk to the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand about reducing the strength of the baht, which has made Thailand more expensive for foreigners. 

"As the tourism minister, I would like to facilitate tourists' visits as much as possible because tourism is one of the most important sectors of the country,” Mr Pipat said.

“So policies such as visa-on-arrival fee waivers will be considered right after the prime minister delivers his policy statement to the House." 

Mr Pipat also plans to talk to the private sector about enhancing tourism attractions in all provinces, and pushing local tourism to the forefront as well.

In terms of sports, Mr Pipat said he will encourage international sporting bodies to hold their tournaments in Thailand. 

"If we can hold the big sporting events, it will not only attract tourists to the games, but also promote Thai tourism," he said.

Mr Pipat is a shareholder in several SET-listed companies, including PTG Energy Plc, a fuel retailer under the PT brand; and AMA Marine Plc, a transport service for fuel, gas and petroleum products run as a family business under the name Ratchakit Holding.

Mr Pipat told reporters on Monday that he took the ministerial portfolio after his wife, Natee Ratchakitprakan, a Bhumjaithai party-list candidate, was disqualified and banned from politics for five years after a court ruled that she failed to disclose some assets and debts six years ago.


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