The Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Ministry of Justice have discussed the idea of setting up a tourism court to specially handle tourism-related cases.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Somsak Pureesrisak said that the tourism court would expedite the judicial process for foreign visitors who often stay in Thailand for a short period.
The proposed tourism court will provide better protection for tourists who may receive unfair treatment from tour agencies. Robbery and crime against foreign tourists and other cases involving tourists will be dealt with by this court, which is expected to help increase confidence in Thailand among international visitors.
Since the establishment of the tourism court requires amendments to related laws and would take some time, Mr. Somsak said that, in the initial stage, a new section responsible for tourism-related cases might be set up under the Ministry of Justice.
He said that his discussion with the Ministry of Justice also touched on the topic of opening a night court in order to speed up the legal process for tourism-related cases. He had also asked the Royal Thai Police to help expedite the cases for the court judgments.
Mr. Somsak said that safety and security for tourists was one of his priorities. He believed that Thailand would achieve its target of 24 million tourist arrivals in 2013.
Thailand achieved record-breaking tourist arrivals for the first time in 2012, with 22 million visitors, surpassing the set target. The number represented an increase of 15.98 percent over 2011. East Asian visitor arrivals to Thailand comprise the biggest market share of all visitors.
The Government is stepping up efforts to increase Thailand’s tourism revenue to two trillion baht in 2015. Five tourism strategies have been worked out to achieve the revenue target. They seek to make a difference in Thailand’s tourism, boost international markets, stimulate domestic tourism, promote travel through world mega-events, and encourage travel through the meeting, incentive, convention, and exhibition, or MICE, business.
In recent years, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has actively promoted Thailand as a high-quality destination, targeting new markets and offering new niche products, such as health and medical tourism, agro-tourism, Thai cookery courses, and international conventions and exhibitions.
Thailand has been ranked the fourth best world destination in a survey conducted by the renowned Conde Nast Traveler magazine. It was also named the “Most Popular Destination” by Go Asia, at the International Tourism Exchange Berlin 2012.
Tourism continues to play a crucial role in Thailand’s socio-economic development, accounting for about 7 percent of GDP. It is a major source of foreign exchange, investment, employment generation, wages, and government revenue.