The ASEAN chief has called on Thailand to consider initiating a network at the sub-regional level for the money-making tourism industry in order to help turn the country into the region’s economic hub.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said during a special lecture on opportunities and threats for the Thai tourism industry that the number of travelers to ASEAN grew 10 percent on-year in 2011 to 82 million, 45-50 percent of which coming from within the region.

He also stated that Thailand is to speedily work on the sub-regional tourism network to pull more travelers into the country before they travel to the third nation.

In addition, Surin suggested that new products are also to be created, during the times when the Eurozone debt crisis is slowing down European, US and Japanese markets.

The ASEAN chief also said that Thailand should promptly improve land, water and air transportation systems while considering an option to make Donmuang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports active passages for travelers coming in and leaving the country.

And with the convenient connection among all 3 airports, Surin is confident that Thailand will become ASEAN’s aviation hub and achieve the 2-trillion-baht tourism revenue target by 2015.-VNA