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New government urgently needed to support tourism – TAT

Russian tourists visiting Phuket

Government? What government?!

Thailand’s tourism officials say the country needs a new government as a matter of priority, in order to boost the sector and attract more foreign visitors. Whilst the May 14 election, now 3 months ago, had the results of the winning MPs published the next day, the parliament is still struggling to elect a new prime minister and no one appears able to pull together a workable coalition.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says the formation of Thailand’s new government will have significant consequences for the budget for the 2024 fiscal year, which begins in October.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says that for 2024, his office has requested an increase of 1.5 billion baht on this year’s budget of 3 billion baht. This is to cover routine expenses, including staffing costs, along with current and new marketing campaigns aimed at attracting more international visitors.

Tourism officials fear that any further delay in forming a government will result in a delay in budgetary approval, meaning TAT will have to curtail its marketing plans. There is fierce competition globally when it comes to tourism and Yuthasak says the delay in forming a government could see Thailand losing out to other popular destinations.

The number of Chinese arrivals is still below expectations, with only 1.85 million Chinese arriving in the first 7 months of this year. This is well below the government’s predicted 4 million, which Yuthasak says is due to stimulus measures implemented by the Chinese government to boost domestic tourism, as well as economic concerns in China.

The TAT says new strategies are needed to attract more foreign visitors, but this requires a new government to be in place.

Meanwhile, the authority has introduced a programme called “STAR: Sustainable Tourism Acceleration Rating”, to promote sustainable tourism in Thailand. Participating businesses complete a self-assessment process and those that meet certain criteria receive a “Sustainable Star” certificate, valid for 2 years.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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