Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Thailand’s New Tourism Minister to Make Visitor Safety First Priority

Thailand’s newly appointed Tourism and Sports Minister has told a media briefing that his most urgent task will the setting of visitor safety standards to regain the confidence of foreign tourists.

Pipat Ratchakitprakan said his ministry would engage tourist police and volunteers to supervise visitor safety in Thailand’s tourism communities.

He said his new initiative will start later this year, but didn’t elaborate.

The minister said he will also talk to the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand about reducing the strength of the Thai Baht.

Saying at the Thai Bahts current strength make visiting Thailand far too expensive for foreigners.

“As the tourism minister, I would like to facilitate tourist’s visits as much as possible because tourism is one of the most important sectors of the country,” Mr Pipat said.

“So policies such as visa-on-arrival fee waivers will be considered right after the prime minister delivers his policy statement to the House.”

Mr Pipat also plans to talk to the private sector about enhancing tourism attractions in all provinces, and pushing local tourism to the forefront as well.

Sporting Events

In terms of sports, Mr Pipat said he will encourage international sporting bodies to hold their tournaments in Thailand.

“If we can hold the big sporting events, it will not only attract tourists to the games, but also promote Thai tourism”.

Thailand is literally banking on a significant growth in tourism over the next few years – it is widely forecast that by 2020, 50 million international tourists will visit the country.

Thailand’s popularity is largely predicated on being a safe, welcoming and high value-for-money destination.

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