According to Thai minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Kingdom has also planned to present Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang to their tourists as part of their so-called “maritime tourism” (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, believes that there is still room for Vietnam and Thailand to grow and attract tourists with different tourism purposes.

The minister said during an interview with the Vietnam News Agency’s English-language daily Viet Nam News during her recent visit to Hanoi to attend the Thai Culture Days.

"As Vietnam will host the ASEAN Beach Games in Da Nang by the end of September and there will be a seminar on sport tourism on its agenda, I think Thailand and Vietnam can cooperate in this field," she said.

"ASEAN nowadays attracts great interest from people all over the world in terms of business, investment, and tourism. That’s why ASEAN connectivity is part of the programme that we launched last year.

"Therefore, we are presenting the ‘two countries – one destination’ package to tourists from America and Europe. If they want to go to Vietnam, they can come to Thailand and we will take them to Vietnam; or if they want to go to Thailand, they go to Myanmar, and then Thailand."

Alongside offering several new destinations and new products every year, she said Thailand and Vietnam, together with other ASEAN countries, can help each other offer more new tourism products.

In their first phase, Thailand has begun increased connectivity with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

"We already have tour packages for Thailand-Cambodia, Thailand-Laos, Thailand-Myanmar, and Thailand- Vietnam," she said.

Last year, the Tourism Administration of Thailand (TAT) America brought a group of tour operators and media from the US to Thailand and then to Ha Long Bay, Hanoi and HCM City to explore the route. Another similar group will come back again in October to discover the route Thailand-Hanoi-Sa Pa-Lao Cai.

Minister Wattanavrangkul also mentioned another form of connectivity, which has been called "intra-ASEAN".

She explained "intra-ASEAN" aims to encourage travel among ASEAN countries.

According to her, 29.8 million international tourists visited Thailand last year, of which 7.8 million were ASEAN tourists. The number of Vietnamese travellers to Thailand was 770,000, while about 140,000 Thais visited Vietnam.

This year, the Kingdom has witnessed an increasing number of tourists that the two countries exchange between themselves.

"Within ‘intra-ASEAN’, we want Thai people to visit Hanoi and other places such as Sa Pa, HCM City, Hue," Minister Wattanavrangkul said.

"In fact, we have discussed that we want to open the connectivity between Hue and Chiangmai. We want to introduce Hue to Thai people as well as to introduce Chiangmai to Vietnamese."

The Kingdom also has planned to present Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam’s southern province of Kien Giang to their tourists as part of their so-called “maritime tourism”.

"With Trat and Samui in Thailand, Phu Quoc in Vietnam, and Sihanoukville in Cambodia, we can create a new interesting route for travellers," the minister said.

Asked about problems that Thailand has to face while developing its tourism, she said they can be lessons for other countries, including Vietnam.

"When your tourism grows fast you tend to make light of something such as the environment and the identity of tourism. Those matters are common challenges for many countries," she said.

While Thailand is now trying to fix all these problems, the Thai minister said she hopes other ASEAN friends can learn how to cope with the issues.

"In June, we had the C-L-M-V-T [standing for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand] forum in Bangkok. Co-organised by the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Tourism of Thailand, the forum discussed these matters and we concluded that we need to further boost information exchange. We in Thailand faced all these matters before and now we can share with you the lessons we have learned.".-VNA