The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has called for operators in tourism-related businesses to be well prepared for expected increases in local and foreign tourists next year.

The agency said improved facilities should be offered by both public and private sectors to promote the industry in the longer term, according to TAT’s deputy governor for policy and planning Santi Chudintra.

Speaking at a seminar held by Business and Legal Advisory Centre of Assumption University yesterday, Mr Santi said travel agencies and tour operators should prepare guidelines that feature hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions in major cities in Thailand as well as new destinations.

“The entire tourism sector should prepare as Thailand’s tourism industry is growing constantly,” said Mr Santi.

The TAT set a 2.84 trillion baht revenue target for the tourism industry next year, up by 0.34 trillion baht from this year. Domestic tourists are expected to bring in 1.89 trillion and international arrivals accounting for 0.95 trillion baht.

The agency reports there were approximately 30 million international arrivals from Jan 1 to Dec 1 this year, up nearly 10% from the same period last year and generating 1.51 trillion baht in revenue, a rise of 14%.

In 2015, Thailand welcomed nearly 30 million foreign tourists and the figure is expected to rise to 33.8 million this year.

Despite the zero-dollar tour crackdown, the bombing in Hua Hin and the mourning period for the passing of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Mr Santi is still confident that Thailand will achieve its tourism revenue target of 2.5 trillion baht this year.

On the same panel, Adith Chairattananon, secretary-general of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), suggested Thailand should have more hospitality schools in order increase the supply of human resources to strengthen the quality of the tourism industry and support the government in building a sustainable tourism industry in the long term.

Mr Adith said every sector should be aware of maintaining a good atmosphere for Chinese tourists as they represent 30% of total foreign arrivals, with a higher proportion expected next year.

He said ATTA is not worried anymore about the impact of the zero-dollar tour crackdown and is still confident that the number of Chinese tourist arrivals will improve next year after the government pressured tour agents to offer legal tour packages to Chinese travellers.

He said the weak Chinese economy and the mourning atmosphere after the passing of His Majesty the King also contributed to the drop in Chinese tourists alongside the crackdown.

“The decline in Chinese tourist arrivals after the zero-dollar tour crackdown in late September was short-lived and I believe it is nearly over now,” said Mr Adith.



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