Thailand’s 5 billion baht plan for tourism revival

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced its plan for fiscal year 2024 with a budget of 5 billion baht ($144.2 million), which aims to increase off-peak tourism, boost spending per trip by 7%, and distribute income to a greater number of destinations. The budget is an increase from the 3.25 billion baht allocated for fiscal 2023.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn explained that the key strategies for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning in October 2023, will be promoting fairness in revenue distribution through a “sharing economy” and making Thailand a “Tourism for All” destination. The aim is to achieve better distribution of tourists to secondary provinces and improve the dispersal of visitors throughout the year, rather than just during the high season.

Yuthasak said, “We will create more opportunities and improve access to ensure that all people can travel to Thailand.” He also mentioned the possibility of implementing travel vouchers to boost tourism in secondary cities, as suggested by Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, the head of the proposed coalition government.

Yuthasak, whose second term as governor will end on August 31, highlighted that the lessons learned from the pandemic have helped TAT formulate a new plan for the next year and implement crisis management for possible future contingencies. He outlined a four-step development plan for building “tourism security” and resilience, which involves both the public and private sectors. The first measure focuses on strengthening the supply chain and upgrading products and services to match demand. Local communities should also be developed to accommodate a greater number of tourists through increased distribution channels.

Yuthasak emphasized the importance of building support and infrastructure for tourist services to enhance safety and ease of travel within Thailand. The country must also adopt safety standards that apply to all segments, particularly for people with disabilities, Yuthasak added. Another crucial aspect of the plan is enhancing digital transformation, which can help maximize tourism revenue if the industry improves its digital literacy and takes advantage of technology.

Yuthasak acknowledged that factors such as natural disasters, pandemics, and global recessions are beyond the industry’s control. Therefore, regulators should prepare for external risks by implementing management plans. Yuthasak said, “Thai tourism can survive any crisis, avoid severe impacts and recover faster than during the pandemic if we build resilient tourism through these suggestions.”

It remains to be seen whether this ambitious plan will be enough to revive Thailand’s battered tourism sector. However, with its focus on increasing off-peak tourism, boosting spending per trip, and distributing income more evenly across destinations, there is hope that this plan will help foster sustainable tourism growth for years to come.

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