The tourism promotion fair to draw visitors to Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat provinces will be held at Rajamangala stadium in Hua Mak, Bangkok, from June 1-3. The TAT is cooperating with the Foundation of Islamic Center of Thailand and its alliances to promote historical tourism in which Islamic ancient buildings in the far South will be developed as tourist attractions.
They hope that more people from Bangkok and nearby provinces will visit the southernmost provinces. The fair will offer two-in-one tour packages which will take tourists to both Thai provinces and Malaysian states. The package will have Betong in Yala as the selling point, to convince visitors that Betong is safe and complete with sufficient facilities for them.
During the travel fair, southern food and products will be on sale, while southern performances such as the famous dikir hulu will be on show, among others.
In 2003, before the southern unrest, tourists in the three Thai southern border provinces numbered 1.4 million, bringing in over 4 billion baht in tourism revenue. But since violence plagues the region, tourist numbers have dropped significantly; only rising in 2010, when the three provinces saw 1.3 million tourists.
Tourism revenue was expected to increase by 5-10% in 2011. Currently less than 20% of tourists to the far South are Thai, while 80% are Malaysians.