The Thai government’s plan to shift its focus from mass tourism to high-end tourism has concerned several hotel industry professionals.
Thailand’s aim to reinvent the tourism sector shifts its focus from the accessible, backpacking scene, and instead plans to pivot around high-end tourism.
This move, as announced by Thailand Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, will attempt to make the tourism sector less reliant on mass tourism, and will instead seek tourists who will likely spend more money while visiting the country.
While the process of managing individuals that will visit the country is currently being deliberated, the authorities will most likely subject would-be tourists to a coronavirus screening before entering the country.
Once cleared, the tourists can choose among the resort islands cleared by the tourism authorities.
The islands that are being vetted by the government for consideration are Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Phi Phi.
However, this strategy by the tourism department has concerned several hotel industry professionals. They state that this plan endangers small businesses that are banking on mass tourism.
The Phuket Hotels Association President, Anthony Lark, said that small hotel industries have a vital role in Thailand’s eventual tourism sector recovery.
“It’s great to drive business away from mass tourism in the long-term, yet higher rates should ideally be linked to all levels of the business, not just the luxury sector – the recovery has to also include hotels that are three- and four-star, not just five-star.”
Additionally, DBC Asia’s consultant David Barrett, says that luxury tourism should be kept in check. Instead, both mass and luxury tourism should be targeted in reinvigorating the tourism market.
He also noted that the government should closely monitor the tourism developments by various businesses. Mr. Barrett said:
“Covid-19 presents Thailand with an opportunity to reset and build a better tourism model. However, we need to better manage the kingdom’s resources, protect the environment, and learn to say ‘no’ to new hotel developments in an oversaturated market and ‘no’ to tour operators who have disregard for the destination and environment.
Control has been woefully lacking in the past, causing the overtourism that Thailand was talking about pre-Covid-19 and environmental devastation from mass group tours.”
Last week, Thailand allocated 22.4 billion baht (US$718 million) domestic tourism stimulus fund that will benefit businesses that are in the field of tourism.
Source: TTG Asia