Betong tourism association pushes for airport runway extension to boost visitor numbers
Betong tourism association pushes for airport runway extension to boost visitor numbersLegacy

The Betong District Tourism Association is pressing for an extension of the runway at Betong International Airport. The expansion is integral to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s tourism enhancement agenda. The longer runway is anticipated to allow larger aircraft to land, subsequently increasing the influx of tourists.

Deputy President of the association, Narin Ruangwongsa, expressed the intention to propose this expansion during PM Srettha’s forthcoming visit to the district. The prime minister’s official tour of the deep South region, comprising of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat provinces, is primarily aimed at tourism stimulation, as per government spokesperson, Chai Wacharonke.

Srettha will be accompanied by a cohort of key ministers, including Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, and Tourism Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, among others.

In the previous year, Yala attracted over 1 million Thai and over 600,000 foreign visitors, yielding approximately 5.1 billion baht (US$ 141,942,690), as per the association’s records. The renowned Betong district alone received at least 1.6 million visitors, reported Bangkok Post.

Narin elaborated on the association’s request to increase the current runway length of 1.8 kilometres to 2.5 kilometres to accommodate larger aircraft. This expansion would enable the airport to handle aircraft with 150 to 180 seats, a significant increase from the current capacity of 80 seats or less.

Narin argued that larger aircraft would result in reduced travel expenses to the district, thereby enticing more tourists.

Furthermore, the proposal includes the promotion of historical sites and the utilisation of local soft power. The association aims to highlight the province’s multicultural festivals, particularly for Chinese tourists. It also seeks to advertise Thai-Muslim cultural events, such as Malaya Day, which could allure high-spending tourists, including those from the Middle East.

The association also plans to organise more tourism-related events, like the Batong Trail Running and Ecotourism Route Cycling. Narin also hinted at the possibility of adding more landmark check-in spots like Hala-Bala Forest’s Lake Bridge to the tourism promotion plan.

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Author: Mitch Connor