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Thailand fights hard to win back tourism

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Country “more stable and committed than ever to promoting tourism”

Thailand is “getting back on track” to welcome tourists again, following the impact the country’s political turmoil had on its tourism industry earlier this year.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the NATAS Travel Fair in Singapore on Friday, deputy chief mission of the Royal Thai Embassy, Ekajit Kraivichien, reassured industry players.

“After months of protests and uncertainty, the country is now more stable and more committed than ever to promoting tourism and economic relations with friends around the world,” she said.

While martial law remains in place, it does not affect tourists or businesses, she explained: “Curfews have been lifted and Thailand is open for both tourism and business. The law is there only to allow officials to keep the country safe more efficiently.”

She added that new initiatives have been put in place to curb illegal activities which stifle tourism, like the clearing-out of stalls that block the scenic views on the beaches, and the stamping out of unlawful extortion and overcharging of tourists through cons such as jet-ski rental scams.

To further reach out to tourists, Kraivichien said that a visa-fee waiver for tourists from China and Taiwan that started on August 9 will continue until mid-November. In Indonesia, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched a Let’s go back to Thailand campaign to entice Indonesians back.

Travel insiders interviewed by TTG Asia at the event in Singapore confirmed that confidence in Thailand had been restored.

Statistics from the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports show that the kingdom welcomed 11.8 million visitors for H1 2014, a 9.9% decrease over the same period in 2013. Meanwhile, Thailand’s government has welcomed Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul into the cabinet of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha as minister of tourism and sport. Kobkarn is the former chairperson of Toshiba Thailand.

TTG Asia

[photo courtesy Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok]

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