Srettha pushes for tourism in 2nd-tier provinces, longer stays, more spending


Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin outlined a shift in his tourism policy to promote second-tier provinces and boost spending by foreign tourists in a meeting at Government House on Wednesday.

The premier told Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) chief Thapanee Kiatphaibool and ministry executives that the goal is to sustain a year-round high tourism season and boost per head, per trip spending by foreign visitors.

He said tourism promotions should also shift from traditional destinations like Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi and Hua Hin.

“Instead, we must stimulate spending in second-tier provinces by promoting their strong points of attraction and create new landmarks,” Srettha said.

“Please join hands to find the points of attraction that can be turned into soft power and promoted in the right direction.”

Srettha pushes for tourism in 2nd-tier provinces, longer stays, more spending He also told the meeting that he has instructed the TAT governor to attend international tourism events to lure more foreign tourists to Thailand. The premier also instructed the governor to have senior TAT officials visit secondary provinces frequently to find cultural and tourism sites.

“I understand they will be tough to find, but I think there are plenty of them out there. It simply needs cooperation between TAT and local administrations to find sight-seeing sites,” Srettha said.

The premier told the meeting that Thailand should be a high-season destination all year round, instead of just during winter months.

“I ask all of you to do your homework and formulate strategies on drawing foreign tourists throughout the year,” Srettha said.

Srettha pushes for tourism in 2nd-tier provinces, longer stays, more spending He added that TAT should be able to provide information to foreigners in all languages, adding that the focus should not just be on the number of arrivals but also on spending per head.

“I want foreign tourists to stay longer and spend more,” he said.

While apologising to the TAT governor for scolding her publicly for failing to meet the target of foreign tourists, he assured her support and urged direct communication.

“Please forgive me if I was too straightforward. I didn’t intend to hurt you and know the issues you and the country are facing,” Srettha said to Thapanee at the meeting.

After issuing the policies at the meeting, the premier also had a private chat with the minister and the TAT governor.

Srettha pushes for tourism in 2nd-tier provinces, longer stays, more spending Later, Sudawan told reporters that her ministry will ask the Cabinet for a 600-million-baht fund to boost foreign arrivals during the high season.

The ministry will submit promotion details for Cabinet consideration, in line with the prime minister’s policy to promote tourism in second-tier provinces, such as Nong Bua Lamphu and Kanchanaburi, she said.

The ministry will also consider holding activities to promote stays in second-tier provinces, such as those along the border.

In addition, it aims to find ways for tourists to spend more than the current rate of 43,000 baht per held per trip, Sudawan added.

While acknowledging that the number of Chinese arrivals did not meet expectations, she expressed optimism about high arrivals from other countries. She also said that she will seek government approval for tourists to be allowed to stay for longer than 30 days per trip.

In a bid to boost the tourism industry, the government approved a temporary exemption for a 30-day stay for Chinese, Indian and Kazakhstan nationals in September. The scheme, which was scheduled to end in February next year, has been extended to May 2024 and now includes Taiwan and Russia nationals.