Thai travel business operators worried over threats from CLMV formation

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BANGKOK, 20 July 2012  – Thai travel business operators have expressed worries over increasing competition from the setting up of a tourism promotion project by 4 ASEAN countries. 

Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) President Suthipong Pheunphiphop said on Thursday that all related parties, including the TTAA, the Association of Thai Traven Agents (ATTA) and the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT), are keeping a close eye on the direction of the country’s tourism industry after the realization of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

Mr. Suthipong said that a more liberalized region will be a challenge for Thailand, especially in terms of its ranking within ASEAN.

He also noted that the biggest worry for the Thai tourism industry is the formation of CLMV countries, comprising of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, which signed a cooperation document to allow travelers to obtain only one single visa for all 4 nations. The initiative is set to be officially launched in August at the International Expo in Ho Chi Minh City, said Mr. Suthipong.

The TTAA President added that Thailand is at disadvantage in the area of language, when compared with its neighbors, and that the issue is increasingly becoming more pressure with English agreed to be the language used by all 10 ASEAN member nations after the realization of AEC.

And in addition to calls for the speedy development of basic infrastructure and transportation network, Mr. Suthipong suggested that state officials from related agencies, such as the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, are to acquire more education on marketing while the government is to solve the problems of corruption and overlapping responsibilities among state and private agencies.