|Bangkok Post: 16 Apr 2009|
|B6.6bn tourism rehab planned|
Bangkok Post Apr 16, 2009
The government plans to invest about 6.6 billion baht in tourism projects over the next three years as part of its efforts to rebuild the industry, currently being battered by political tension.
The package excludes 10.23 billion baht in tourism-related infrastructure spending, planned for the same period.
According to Tourism and Sports Ministry permanent secretary, Dr Sasithara Pichaicharnnarongthe, the investment framework has already been approved by the cabinet. Its details will be confirmed later and re-submitted for the cabinet's approval, probably in May or June this year.
Investment is due to start in the 2010 fiscal year in October. Initiatives include:
- 75 million baht to restore foreign-visitor confidence and upgrade warnings and safety measures in tourism spots.
- 325 million baht to convince foreign visitors to travel to Thailand both for business and leisure.
- 2 billion baht to build new tourism products, including developments such as the Royal Coast plan, the Chiang Mai convention hall, and tourism routes linking South China to Malaysia and Burma via Laos and Vietnam.
- 3.55 billion baht for rehabilitating the environment at tourism spots, such as the national parks and the royal projects.
- 593 million baht for upgrading tourism standards and developing human resources in the industry.
The infrastructure investment package will include 4.12 billion baht for improving and upgrading tap water systems in 11 tourism spots; 1.95 billion for installing and improving power supplies at tourism spots; and 4.16 billion for upgrading 58 bus and railway stations, according to Dr Sasithara.
She said the ministry also had received the go-ahead for the Royal Coast project. Formerly called Thailand Riviera, this tourism megaproject requires 10 billion baht in public funds as well as private investment totalling 21 billion for infrastructure development.
Initiated in 2005, the Royal Coast project aims to make the upper region of the south an internationally renowned destination.
The project will develop facilities in four provinces - Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Ranong - which currently have great untapped tourism potential. The 400-kilometre coastal area already has good basic facilities and infrastructure, especially roads, railways and air links.
The four provinces have many diverse and famous attractions, such as historical and cultural sites, national parks, beaches and hot springs. They will also be linked to eastern coastal tourist sites such as Pattaya, Sattahip and Rayong.
The original development timeframe, between 2007 and 2011, envisions Phetchaburi becoming a centre for historical and cultural tourism, with Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chumphon developed as natural attractions, while Ranong would be positioned as a centre for health tourism.In the first three years, Dr Sasithara said the ministry plans to invest in tourism routes linking destinations in each province, with new piers and ports to support marine tourism, and diving centres in Chumphon.
She said details of these projects would go before the cabinet in June.