Thai PM affirms govt’s policy to support tourism industry

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BANGKOK, May 3 — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday reaffirmed Thailand’s policy to support the tourism industry as its development was one of the urgent policy concerns the government announced to implement during its first year in office.

Ms Yingluck spoke on the subject to visiting United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai who paid a courtesy call on her at Government House.

Mr Rifai is in Thailand to attend the 24th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO’s Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, its Commission for South Asia and its High-level Regional Conference on Green Tourism in the northern province of Chiang Mai.

UNWTO is a specialised agency of the United Nations and the leading international organisation in the field of tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and is a practical source of tourism know-how.

The secretary general stressed the importance of the tourism as it is a major industry able to mobilise economic growth, as well as to support employment and development.

Ms Yingluck said that the tourism business was a crucial industry with strategic importance because it can generate income for  the kingdom.

She said her government has launched a new tourism promotion campaign, “Miracle Year of Amazing Thailand 2012-2013,” and will further develop facilities to support the tourism business, particularly world standards of security to protect tourist lives and property.

The Miracle Year of Amazing Thailand is a year long tourism campaign focusing on the tradition, culture and unique aspects of Thailand and ‘Thainess’.

She earlier said that her government has targeted generating tourism industry revenues of two trillion baht within the next five years.

Today Mr Rifai gave Ms Yingluck an open letter for the Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign prepared by UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), calling on countries not yet involved to join the campaign.

Twenty-six national leaders have received the open letter from the UNWTO and WTTC emphasising that tourism is a vital part of the global economy, driving not only employment opportunities but also the push towards a Green Economy.