A jubilant government has consigned its earlier tourism promotion plans to the dustbin amid growing confidence that…
A jubilant government has consigned its earlier tourism promotion plans to the dustbin amid growing confidence that tourism growth next year could reach an unprecedented 25 percent.
Speaking to reporters, Thailand`s Tourism and Sports Minister Sontaya Kunplome said that earlier tourism plans based on growth of 12 percent had been abandoned due to the successful containment of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the healthy growth of the Thai economy and Thailand`s exemplary hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Meetings 2003 (APEC 2003).
Expressing confidence that Thailand would see a surge of visitors next year, the minister said that new plans had been drawn up based on growth of no less than 25 percent, with no less than 12 million foreign tourists flocking into the country.
Mr. Sontaya said that under the new plans, the ministry would use its Bt4.7 million funding allocation for 2004 to develop tourism destinations to international standards to ensure maximum tourist safety.
At the same time, the ministry would use Bt1.8 billion in a public relations campaign to encourage foreigners to visit Thailand in greater numbers, while urging Thais from all walks of life to drive round the Kingdom as part of a new Drive round Thailand – go every month promotion.
Mr. Sontaya forecast that next year Thailand would gain at least Bt685-700 billion in tourism revenue, of which around Bt385 billion would come from foreign visitors.
Despite the setback caused by SARS earlier this year, over 10 million tourists have visited Thailand in 2003, bringing revenue of at least Bt600 billion.
Mr. Sontaya said that the Tourism and Sports Ministry now planned to revamp a number of tourist destinations, including the Sukhothai Historical Park, which sees 400,000 visitors each year.
He also stressed that the government was attaching a huge amount of importance to tourist safety, and was working to repair a damage caused by recent attacks on tourists by Bangkok taxi drivers. (TNA)
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