Thai officials promote less known areas in bid to save Thailand from suffocating tourism
OVERCROWDING and pollution are ruining some of Thailand’s most popular beaches. In a bid to save the country from over tourism, Thailand is now promoting the country’s lesser-known regions.
The Kingdom of Thailand has been a popular tourist destination with British holidaymakers for some time, with over one million visits made by British nationals ever year, the FCO reports.
In addition, the ‘Land of Smiles’ is expecting to welcome a record 37.5 million travellers in 2018, according to data revealed by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Cult films such as The Beach have driven tourists in their hoards to visit Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi, as well as Phuket being named as Britons favourite holiday resort in 2017.
However, pressure caused by a suffocating amount of over-tourism on the country’s most popular beach resorts, and capital Bangkok, is growing.
In a bid to relieve some of the pressure, Thailand’s new tourism minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, is on a mission to promote some of the country’s lesser-known regions.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced their ‘Go Local’ campaign in January 2018, in order to promote secondary destinations and curb the tide of tourism against urban areas only.
It also hopes to even out tourism traffic between peak and non-peak periods.
According to TAT, the project aims to target 10 million tourists to travel to secondary cities and rural areas, generating an estimated 10 billion Baht (around £227 million) in tourism revenue, in 2018.
Tax reductions are being offered to domestic travellers in 2018. This programme will be extended for international travellers the year after.
To entice tourists to lesser-known destinations, a TAT Plus discount card has been created, giving travellers money off retail, dining and accommodation in secondary cities.
A number of improvements are to be made to transport, making it easier for travellers to reach rural areas, as well as discounts on domestic air fares.
It will also reduce promotions of major and well-established destinations including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya, in favour of lesser-known destinations.
TAT’s deputy governor for marketing, Tanes Petusawan, spoke to TTG Asia: “We hope this will encourage people to extend their trip. For example, people visiting Chiang Mai will go on to visit Lampang province.”
Creators of the new initiative are hopeful it will save Thailand from over-tourism, which has recently forced officials to slap down travel bans on some of the country’s most popular beach resorts.
Earlier this month, The Government of Thailand issued travel bans to Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan in a bid to curb damage caused by pollution.
Anyone breaking the new bans will now face a fine of 100,000 Baht (£2,287) and may face a jail sentence of up to a year. Express.co.uk has contacted TAT for a comment.
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