Tourism plays pivotal role in economic growth

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Thai tourism boom expects 6pc rise in 2017

Naveed Ahmed Khan

Tourism is considered as one of the key driving force that contributes in accelerating economy of any polity. Thai-land’s tourist arrivals are forecast to rise from 3.75per cent to 5.8per cent in the current year largely driven by Chi-nese visitors. Thailand’s tourism industry accounts for about 10per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Budget-friendly Thailand expects up to 34.4 million tourists in 2017. Thailand’s centuries old exotic allure, its array of beaches and gilded Buddhist temples have ensured that the country remains one of the world’s top travel destinations. A crackdown earlier this year on cheap tour packages for Chinese tourists – known as “zero dollar tours” – has also failed to dent tourist arrivals. Chartered flights from various Chinese cities declined afterwards for a short period but they are now back again. It’s an encouraging sign. We may see a decline in tourist arrivals in the first quarter but by the second quarter things will improve. The tourism ministry has said it expects a record 32.4 million visitors this year last year. The council forecasts about 9.17 million Chinese arrivals next year, up from 8.9 million in 2016.
Data for advance flight bookings to Thailand made from December 31 to January 3 showed a 40 per cent increase in bookings from North and South America, followed by a 4per cent increase from the previous year in bookings from Europe.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Thailand rose nearly 9per cent to 32.6 million in 2016, bringing in 1.64 trillion baht ($45.9 billion) worth of business, up nearly 13per cent from 2015. The rise, just beating the ministry’s forecast of 32.4 million visitors, came despite the mourning period for Thailand’s late king, a number of bombings in resorts, cases of the Zika virus and a crackdown on some low budget Chinese tours.
Tourism has been a rare bright spot for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, with exports sluggish exports and domestic demand subdued since the military seized power in 2014 coup to end political unrest. Almost a third of its total international arrivals in 2016 came from China, with 8.87 million Chinese visitors, making for an in-crease of 11.8per cent from 2015.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is following the golden principles for the promotion of tourism in the coun-try, Accelerate the development of a tourism technological system for accommodating business activities informa-tion (E-Tourism) on the Internet. Included here is also the carrying out of electronic commerce as well as applying information technology in marketing. The necessary mechanism on controlling and protection has to be in place to ensure prevention of problems.
Aim at organization and management development as well as development of the human resources’ ability to create a capable driving force in the operation. Moreover, this aims at strengthening the potentiality on interna-tional competition under the good governance as well as developing the strength of the organization on its techni-cal roles as well as knowledge on marketing.
Promoting cooperation in all levels domestically and internationally on promotion for the development of tourism markets. This aims to get rid of all hindrances in the tourism industry and pave the way for Thailand to be the tour-ism hub of Southeast Asia.
In order to promote and develop the operation on proactive marketing strategies for increasing the new markets as well as the niche markets. This is in order to attract more quality tourists to visit Thailand. At the same time, domestic travel for Thais should be vigorously encouraged. The positioning of Thailand is to be drawn out clearly, too.
In order to promote the tourism industry to be an important instrument in tackling the country’s economic problem, creating jobs for people as well as increasing income for the country.
Moreover, promotion should be done to make tourism play a vital role in the development of the quality of life in all regions of Thailand as per the policy of the government
It is pertinent to mention here that Thai Airway also playing significant role to improve tourism through its ser-vices and hospitality. Mr. Natthakorn Chunhacha, Country Manager of Thai Airways in Pakistan expressed his keen desire to further improve tourism relation between Pakistan and Thailand.
The Ambassador of Thailand to Pakistan, Mr. Suchart Liengsaengthong lauded the initiative of Thai Airways. Ambassador Suchart Liengsaengthong urged to promote bilateral relationship particularly in tourism industry.

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