Illustrative photo (Source: Internet)
 
Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s media quoted Minister of Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat as saying that he would focus on the task of attracting foreign visitors and improving hotspots.

Over the past 16 years, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has focused on expanding the number of international tourist arrivals and increasing tourism revenue.

In 2017, Thailand attracted 35 million foreign tourists, raking in more than 1.8 trillion baht (around 56 billion USD) in tourism revenue, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Weerasak said tourism is no longer playing a role as economic driver, but should instead be used as a tool to reduce the income gap between urban and rural residents.

Weerasak made his first move by persuading government officials to think about the environmental impact of heavy tourist traffic at major destinations. 

At the same time, he began to float the idea of limiting the number of visitors at some popular national parks and closing them for a period of time to rejuvenate. 

More important, the ministry aimed to crack down on illegal operators and inappropriate businesses.

Thailand is expected to welcome up to 38 million foreign tourists in 2018.-VNA