BANGKOK – Thailand’s newly appointed Tourism and Sports Minister has told a media briefing that his most urgent task will the setting of visitor safety standards to regain the confidence of foreign tourists.
Pipat Ratchakitprakan said his ministry would engage tourist police and volunteers to supervise visitor safety in Thailand’s tourism communities.
He said his new initiative will start later this year, but didn’t elaborate.
The minister said he will also talk to the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand about reducing the strength of the Thai Baht.
Saying at the Thai Bahts current strength make visiting Thailand far too expensive for foreigners.
“As the tourism minister, I would like to facilitate tourist’s 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”.
Thailand is literally banking on a significant growth in tourism over the next few years – it is widely forecast that by 2020, 50 million international tourists will visit the country.
Thailand’s popularity is largely predicated on being a safe, welcoming and high value-for-money destination.
Irrespective of the market Thailand seeks to attract, the future of Thai Tourism and its reputation will depend largely on Thailand’s ability to proactively confront visitor safety concerns.
Like it or not, safety is now the leading motivational factor in destination choice, and Thailand’s reputation rests on it.
About Pipat Ratchakitprakan
Mr Pipat is a shareholder in several SET-listed companies, including;
PTG Energy Plc, a fuel retailer under the PT brand
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 a media briefing on Monday that he took the ministerial portfolio after his wife, Natee Ratchakitprakan, a Bhumjaithai party-list candidate, was disqualified.
Natee was banned from politics for five years after a court ruled that she failed to disclose some assets and debts from six years ago.
Source: The Bangkok Post