10 May 2015
Tourist arrivals in Thailand in the first quarter of 2015 came to 7.8 million, accounting for an increase of 24 percent, over the same period of 2014. The Government declared 2015 the Year of "Discover Thainess.”
The report on tourist arrivals was presented to the meeting of the Committee on the 2015 Discover Thainess Campaign, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on 8 May 2015.
Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said that, from January to March 2015, Thailand earned 370 billion baht from international tourism, representing an increase of 18 percent. The number of domestic tourists during the same period rose by 6 percent to 38 million, and income from domestic tourism was 133 billion baht, an increase of 13 percent.
As for the 2015 Discover Thainess Campaign, it emphasizes the country's unique cultural treasures and the Thai way of life. The campaign is an attempt to attract first-time and repeat visitors to explore Thailand’s new destinations. In the campaign, 12 provinces that tourists should not miss have been recommended.
Recognized as "hidden gems,” the 12 provinces include Lampang, Phetchabun, Nan, Buri Ram, Loei, Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi, Trat, Chanthaburi, Trang, Chumphon, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Their tourism income during the first quarter of 2015 increased 15 percent. Among the 12 provinces, tourism growth in Nan came first, followed by Nakhon Si Thammarat and Lampang. Visitors can learn about the Thai way of life through observation and participation in various local activities.
In 2015, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has set the revenue target of 41 billion US dollars (1.35 trillion baht), which will be generated by 28 million international visitors. Source markets that are indicating positive growth trends are the United Arab Emirates, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, France, Italy, Spain, and Brazil.
The Airports of Thailand plans to expand Suvarnabhumi Airport in order to raise the present capacity of 45 million people to 60 million people per year. In October 2015, Don Mueang International Airport will open its second terminal to increase the capacity to 30 million people per year. Phuket International Airport will also expand its capacity from 6.5 million to 12.5 million people a year.
The Prime Minister stated that benefits from tourism should be distributed to local communities and people who are not involved directly with tourism. In this regard, he said, products under the "One Tambon, One Product” (OTOP) program, should be developed to higher standards in order to add value to them.
All provinces were assigned to organize contests on livable Thainess cities. Emphasis is placed on city management, the maintenance of local identities and cleanliness, hospitality, safety, and high-quality products and services.