Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak yesterday (March 13) revealed several plans to promote tourism in its effort to generate over 3 trillion baht from 36-37 million foreign tourists visiting the country this year.
The promotion includes the development of Thailand’s ancient capital, Ayutthaya, to be world-class tourist destination, while the country’s western seacoast would be promoted as “Thailand Riviera”.
Mr Somkid, who chaired the meeting of the committee tasked for tourism promotion policy, said Ayutthaya could not sit idly just to offer its old historic parks to tourists but its culture and customs.
He cited TV Channel 3’s popular prime-time drama series, Buppae Sanniwas (Soulmate), which successfully attract huge crowd of local tourists flocking to historical sites and ancient temples, such as Wat Chaiwattanaram in Ayutthaya, on weekends to get a glimpse of Ayutthaya period which is the setting of the series.
The number of tourists visiting the temple jumped from hundreds to about 3,000 on Sundays due to the popularity of the TV series.
To promote temple visits, the temple has offered special amulets to mark the 666th anniversary of Ayutthaya empire to the first 200 visitors who dressed up in Thai traditional costumes.
Mr Somkid said it was neccessary to catch this trend to promote cultural tourism in Ayutthaya and make it a world class tourist destination.
This will include the promotion of secondary province of Ang Thong which is adjacent to Ayutthaya for cultural tourism as well.
He said the committee also approved a plan to develop “Thailand Riviera” campaign to promote tourism in the western coast in Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon.
He said the government would spare parts of the budget for development of community tourism. The construction of infrastructure including high speed train, dual track railway is in the pipeline to enhance transportation and to propel the plans.
Thailand won third place in terms of global tourism revenue according to statistics recently released by the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The data was for the 2016-2017 year. Since the middle of last year, Thailand has earned 1.65 trillion baht (USD49.9 billion) from tourism, representing a 16.9 percent jump for the previous year, according to the UNWTO’s data.
The country is also ranked ninth globally in the number of tourist arrivals, with the country welcoming 32.6 million visitors in the period recorded, which means the country increased arrivals by 8.9 percent from 2016.