Thai tourism officials have set a target of 80 million foreign visitors by 2027, but the tourism minister says congestion must be alleviated at the country’s tourist hotspots.
Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn insists there should be no return to the overcrowding seen at popular destinations prior to Covid-19.
“It might be harsh to say this, but Thailand should never return to the conditions of 2019, when almost 40 million foreign tourists flocked to the country, with many destinations overcrowded like slums.”
Phiphat says the goal of 80 million visitors can only be achieved with the help of other government ministries. He adds that the much-used term “quality tourists” doesn’t just refer to the rich, but to travellers who plan to stay longer in Thailand.
“Quality tourists doesn’t only mean those with deep pockets.”
Phiphat says anyone planning longer stays in the kingdom can be considered a “quality tourist”.
“They can be backpackers, as we’d rather focus on tourists who respect our laws and environment, agreeing to the rules set by each cultural and natural destination.”
Meanwhile, his ministry is focusing on green tourism over the next 5 years, to bring Thailand in line with global trends.
Phipat says there are plans to make the island of Kho Khao, in the southern province of Phang Nga, into Thailand’s first low-carbon destination by 2025. It’s understood the islands of Yao Noi and Yao Yai could be added later, with plans to make all of Phang Nga a low-carbon province by 2027.
Where is Kho Khao? Just north of Khao Lak.
In addition, Krabi is to be marketed as Thailand’s first “spa province”, with Phiphat saying a recent Japanese study has rated the saltwater hot springs in the district of Khlong Thom as one of the best in the world.
“The Khlong Thom district has a total area of 1,000 square metres. We aim to list the whole district as a health tourism destination, banking on the reputation of its saltwater hot spring.”
SOURCE: Bangkok Post