Dasta preps 2 cities for Unesco contest

Wat Phra That Khao Noi in Nan. The province is set to compete in the 2023 Unesco Creative Cities contest for crafts and folk arts.

The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) is preparing to push Suphan Buri and Nan for the next Unesco Creative Cities competition in 2023.

Chuwit Mitrchob, deputy director-general of Dasta, said this year the agency and local administrations have to work together to create global recognition focusing on creative cities by promotion via both online and offline events.

Suphan Buri will be submitted as a city of music, while Nan will be nominated in the crafts and folk arts category for Unesco Creative Cities next year, he said.

These two provinces previously were nominated along with Phetchaburi in 2021, but only Phetchaburi was awarded as a creative city of gastronomy.

"Even though those two provinces missed the opportunity last year, we gained experience to prepare for the next competition," Mr Chuwit said.

The provinces also have to develop the supply side to support that promotion, he said.

For instance, Suphan Buri will need more elements that express its music identity such as a hall of fame, museums, music schools or annual music events, said Mr Chuwit.

Athikun Kongmee, Dasta director-general, said the agency plans to announce three new designated areas this year including Songkhla Lake (in Songkhla, Phatthalung and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces), Chiang Rai and Bang Krachao in Samut Prakan.

The Songkhla Lake area and Chiang Rai already won approval from Dasta's board committee and will be proposed to the National Tourism Policy Committee for further approval, he said.

Mr Athikun said another seven destinations that expressed interest in being designated areas are Buri Ram, Ayutthaya, Phayao, That Phanom district in Nakhon Phanom, Ratchaburi, Trang and Khlong Thom district in Krabi.

Last year, 95 communities under Dasta's supervision earned 51.9 million baht in tourism revenue.

The target this year might increase to 53-54 million baht, depending on the economy, he said.

Dasta conducted research on the social return on investment from 10 pilot communities to evaluate the value of investment during 2013-2021.

He said there are two famous areas that can double their tourism revenue, comprising Takien Tia community in Chon Buri at a level of 10.8 million baht and Kok Sathorn community in Loei at a tally of 12.4 million. Both areas secured Dasta investment support of 5 and 5.8 million baht, respectively.

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