Tourism puts its faith in Pheu Thai

Tourism operators are hopeful a government can be formed by Pheu Thai as the party has a track record of governing, with the sector eager for state measures to continue effective tourism policies and eliminate ongoing obstacles.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), said a Pheu Thai coalition government could be formed because the party has experience leading the country and a track record of improving the economy.

He said such a government could encourage more economic growth than military-backed governments did in previous decades.

Mr Sisdivachr said he believes such a government would prioritise economic policies, including making tourism a major growth engine.

Based on the track record of Pheu Thai’s past administration, he said there were projects that helped with tourism promotion and should be reintroduced, such as marketing the Chinese movie Lost in Thailand, which created a buzz for Thai tourism among travellers from the mainland.

However, Mr Sisdivachr said fixing ongoing issues such as the slow visa application process and tourist safety should be the priorities for the government.

Adith Chairattananon, honorary secretary-general of Atta, said the Bhumjaithai Party could return to head the Tourism and Sports Ministry as Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the party’s deputy leader, appointed many senior leaders in state agencies while he was in charge.

Mr Adith said in this scenario, the same tourism policies might continue with no major changes.

He said he agrees with environmental policies such as low-carbon and sustainable tourism, as well as the extension of opening hours for entertainment venues in designated zones.

However, Mr Adith said the planned 300-baht tourism fee should be postponed as international tourism demand has yet to fully recover, and the fee collection method remains unclear.

Thienprasit Chaiyapatranun, vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association, said hotel operators hope the new government will set a one-year timeline to help reduce the operating cost burden for hotels, working to implement an appropriate electricity fee rate.

He said hotels want the government to implement a new phase of the domestic stimulus campaign, especially for secondary destinations that could not recover as fast as major tourism cities.