“World-beating currency is a big, big headache for Thailand’s tourism” says the incoming Tourism Minister Piphat Ratchakitprakarn. He has blamed a surge in the baht for sapping tourist arrivals into Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy and says he’ll take up the matter with the central bank, highlighting rising concern over the currency’s gains.
Arrivals have dropped because of the baht’s strength, the Minister told reporters in Bangkok after he officially began his new role. Piphat said he’ll discuss with the Bank of Thailand and the finance minister what can be done to help support the industry.
The Tourism and Sports Minister also says ensuring the safety of tourists is his most urgent task.
Pipat said “Thailand needs to give tourists the confidence to visit the country.” He vowed the incoming administration would do its utmost to make all tourists feel welcome but stressed that all policies depended on the view of the Prime Minister. This included any special steps to encourage visitors from China, which provides the highest number of tourists.
“Personally I think that our country is one of the world’s top destinations and we will try to invite tourists from countries with strong economies to visit Thailand,” he said.
“We will spread our efforts on many groups, not any particular group. I would like to provide the best convenience to tourists but we’ll have to listen to the policy from the Prime Minister first.”
Pipap said he had set himself twin goals: to boost the country’s tourism, and therefore important revenue, but also to help turn promising junior athletes into senior successes.
“I think many people from around the world want to come to Thailand and we should stage big sports events here as it would help generate additional income for the country,” he said.
On the sports side of his ministerial role, he said he hoped to attract more world-class events to the country.
“Right now we already have the Moto GP, and the Prime Minister has mentioned the possibility of holding a world-level trail running event [a sport that combines running with hiking], as well as e-sports,” said Pipat.