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Thailand could be seeing the beginning of the end to a subject that angers many visitors and residents in the kingdom.
Dual pricing for foreigners and tourists.
Thailand’s new Minister for Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn was speaking to Thai reporters about what needs to be done to stimulate the tourism sector.
He said that prices for Thais and tourists at historical and heritage sites like the ruins of Sukhothai and Ayuthaya ought to be the same.
High up on Pipat’s “to do list” is to promote international sporting events like the Moto GP motorcycle race in Buriram. He said that hosting international sporting events not only brings in visitors but introduces the country to the competitors and their teams.
All those associated with such events would take in other aspects of the country’s tourism too.
Hosting E-Sports could also be a good idea.
The same could also be true of medical tourism as it was not just the sick who would be coming to Thailand but their families and friends who would stay in hotels, go to restaurants and visit tourist attraction.
Pipat is also keen to promote what is known as the “Thai Riviera” or coastal areas running south from Hua Hin all the way to Naratiwas in the far south.
Pipat believes it is important to try and get tourists away from already crowded areas in the high season and disseminate their travel experience to lesser known places.
In Chiang Mai, for example, tourists should be encouraged to get away to places such as Lampang, Lamphun and Phayao.
Looking after the welfare of tourists was his number one priority, he said, with safety of visitors top of the list. He intends to work closely with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Tourist Police Bureau in the training of volunteers to ensure this.
Environmental issues are also important with the need to preserve Thailand’s natural beauty and limit plastic use. He set a target of 50% reduction in plastics.
Online applications also need to be updated, improved and readied for use as a matter of priority to ensure that Thailand keeps up with modern technology related to tourism.