By SUCHAT SRITAMA
Public organisations involved in tourism will soon seek approval from the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for an integrated tourism-development plan for 2015 worth Bt1.5 billion.
Key organisations such as the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the Ministry of Culture and the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) held a meeting yesterday and drafted the plan.
The group also concluded that the budget for the plan should be Bt1.5 billion, lower that an earlier estimate of Bt1.8 billion.
"The Ministry of Tourism and Sports will soon ask the junta for approval of this Bt1.5-billion budget. The money will be spent mainly on development and marketing," a ministry representative said.
The source added that the NCPO would consider marketing and action plans before approving the funding, especially in short term period. Moreover, the military government wanted to see a quick response or feedback from each campaign.
"Developing new attractions or rebuilding damaged tourist spots usually takes months or years, but the military will shorten the working time for that, while marketing should have an immediate impact," an officer at the Tourism Department said.
On Wednesday, the NCPO announced three major tourism-recovery measures: waiving visa fees for mainland Chinese and Taiwanese tourists from August to October, appointing a National Tourism Committee to overview development and monitor budgets at public bodies, and giving full authorisation to eliminate illegal businesses such as illicit hotels, taxis and beach operations.
According to Thanate Vorasaran, vice president of the TCT, this is the first time the government has promised to target illegal hotel operators. This will help registered operators gain more business and survive in the long term. Moreover, the military will ask all government organisations to use only licensed hotels.
Thanate said the private sector felt more confident and saw a bright future in the second half of this year as well as next year. The tourism sector has been suffering since the military coup on May 22.
TAT is targeting 28 million international tourists for 2015, up from this year’s revised target of between 25 million and 26.2 million. Meanwhile, it is projecting at 132 million trips in the domestic market next year. Total revenue is expected to increase from Bt2 trillion this year to Bt2.2 trillion in 2015.