7 June 2015
The developments in aviation and overland transport infrastructure will contribute to the country’s tourism growth and attract both quantity and quality visitor arrivals in the years to come.
Speaking at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2015, held on 3-5 June 2015, the Acting Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, stated that Airports of Thailand Public Company is expanding three of Thailand’s key aviation gateways. The expansion at Bangkok’s main gateway, Suvarnabhumi International Airport, will almost double its annual handling capacity to 80 million passengers a year by 2020.
The renovation at Don Mueang International Airport, which handles low-cost airlines, will bring its annual capacity to 30 million passengers by 2015. In addition, Phuket International Airport is being expanded to more than double its annual capacity to 12.5 million passengers by 2016.
Overland travel will connect Thailand with its neighbors in the Greater Mekong Subregion, especially Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Myanmar. There are currently four friendship bridges linking Thailand with Lao PDR, from Nong Khai to Vientiane, Mukdahan to Savannakhet, Nakhon Phanom to Tha Khaek, and Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai to Houay Xai.
Mrs. Juthaporn said that intra-ASEAN travel will be served by plenty of air services and sea ports. It will allow visitors to Thailand to extend their vacation in order to explore the charming culture and various world-renowned tourist attractions in neighboring countries, which are all within three to four hours flying time, similar to the European countries.
In order to facilitate intra- and inter-regional travel, the ASEAN Connect Tourism campaign has been launched. The objectives are to entice visitors to experience new destinations in ASEAN and to promote the connection routes from Thailand to Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam.
The transport infrastructure will facilitate connectivity to, within, and around Thailand and its neighboring countries.
Concerning tourism growth, Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said that the Thai tourism industry is set for a promising future, thanks to increased arrivals projected from China, India, and the ASEAN countries, all of which are in Thailand’s immediate neighborhood.
In 2015, TAT has set a target of 28 million visitors, generating around US$42 billion, or 1.4 trillion baht, in revenue. TAT’s new marketing campaign "Discover Thainess” focuses on high-spending, long-staying niche markets, such as health and wellness, weddings and honeymoons, culinary tourism, and marine tourism.