Thailand targets 465 billion baht in central region tourism revenue
Thailand targets 465 billion baht in central region tourism revenueLegacy

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is set to promote the central region with new flight connections to the south and northeast, aiming to generate 465 billion baht in tourism revenue this year.

Following a mobile cabinet meeting in Phetchaburi province, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin directed TAT to boost tourism in Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, and Phetchaburi. The initiative will focus on enhancing connections in areas adjacent to central provinces and encouraging cross-regional tourism.

TAT Governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool announced that the agency has set a target of attracting 103 million local and foreign tourists to the central region this year. The goal is to generate 465 billion baht in tourism income, marking a 40% increase year-on-year. Key target markets include Europe, Russia, and Southeast Asia.

The TAT plans to implement marketing programmes in central provinces to stimulate travel frequency and boost tourist spending in both main cities and second-tier provinces. These efforts will be guided by three main strategies.

One of the campaign highlights is Must Do in Thailand and Must Eat Thai Food, which aims to promote Phetchaburi as a UNESCO creative gastronomy city. The city is celebrated for its ecological diversity and traditional community recipes.

Phetchaburi is being marketed as the City of 3 Flavours, showcasing three local ingredients. The salty flavour comes from sea salt in the Ban Laem district, the sweet from palm sugar plantations in the Ban Lat district, and the sour from limes in the Tha Yang district, which are used to create a drink called lime palm soda.

Annual event

As part of the Must See Thai Show initiative, TAT is collaborating with the Culture Ministry to organise the Phra Nakhon Khiri Festival, a major annual event in Phetchaburi. Other notable events include a virtual light-and-sound show at the River Kwai Bridge in Kanchanaburi, and promoting Ratchaburi as a city of art.

The Must See Thai Culture campaign focuses on spiritual tourism, offering tours to the largest naga statue in Thailand, a new landmark located at Wat Tham Chaeng in the Cha-am district. The statue, designed by a national artist, features nine auspicious curves.

In the first four months of this year, the central region attracted 37 million tourists, generating 162 billion baht in revenue.

Thapanee noted that the government will support marketing opportunities and enhance tourism connections across regions, particularly to Hua Hin Airport. Thai AirAsia currently operates the Hua Hin-Chiang Mai route, and there are ongoing negotiations to resume flights from Udon Thani and Hat Yai to Hua Hin. These routes aim to attract visitors from Isan, Cambodia, and Laos, as well as southern Thai provinces and Malaysia.

The government also plans to develop Hua Hin Airport for international routes, with runway expansions expected to be completed by October 2025 to accommodate increasing foreign arrivals.

Looking ahead, TAT anticipates tourism revenue of 1.09 trillion baht this year, a 25% increase year-on-year. The central region is projected to contribute 465 billion baht, with the north generating 187 billion baht, the east 178 billion baht, the south 166 billion baht, and the northeast 92.8 billion baht, reported Bangkok Post.

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Author: Alex Morgan