Local tourism operators in Nakhon Ratchasima province on Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin's plan to upgrade airports in secondary cities to boost tourist arrivals and stimulate the economy.
Pongthep Malachasing, head of the local tourism promotion association, said the proposal would breathe life into Nakhon Ratchasima airport, which sees little activity, although the province has a comprehensive network of road and rail transport systems.
He said Nakhon Ratchasima airport, which is located about 30 kilometres from the city, has failed to attract passengers and needs support from the political sector to help spur air travel demand.
Mr Pongthep said he hopes the Pheu Thai-led government will look at the prospect of upgrading Nakhon Ratchasima airport and linking it to other cities to increase air traffic.
Located in Chalerm Phrakiat district, Nakhon Ratchasima airport can accommodate large aircraft, and its 5,500m² passenger terminal can serve up to 300 passengers per hour. However, it currently serves flights for trainee pilots only after Nok Air cancelled its loss-ridden Nakhon Ratchasima-Chiang Mai route after only two months of service in September last year.
During the airport's early years of operation, some commercial airlines, such as Thai Airways, Air Andaman and Kan Airlines, launched domestic flight services but later discontinued them due to financial losses.
In other news, Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the business community urged the incoming government to boost the tourism sector in a recent meeting following Mr Srettha's appointment as prime minister.
He said attracting foreign visitors, especially from China, is one of the urgent measures the government must pursue to speed up economic recovery in the last quarter.
He said Mr Srettha had acknowledged the issue, adding that the private sector expects to see concrete measures after the government delivers its policy statement to parliament.