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Group urges ministry unity to reform supply chains


Tourism and Sports Ministry officials scan the QR code of a Thailand Tourist Safety project launched on Feb 24 at Suvarnabhumi airport to help solve tourism-related problems, handle tourists’ complaints and promote tourist safety. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Tourism and Sports Ministry officials scan the QR code of a Thailand Tourist Safety project launched on Feb 24 at Suvarnabhumi airport to help solve tourism-related problems, handle tourists’ complaints and promote tourist safety. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) expects the new government to strengthen collaboration between six ministries related to the tourism industry to improve supply chains.

Adith Chairattananon, honorary secretary-general of Atta, said the industry needs intensive collaboration with the Foreign Affairs, Interior, Culture, Natural Resource and Environment, Transport, and Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation ministries.

For instance, he said the Higher Education Ministry could help with studies and research on tourism development.

Mr Adith said the Transport Ministry should take action on creating connectivity between major and secondary destinations, enabling wealth distribution to the local economy, such as building airports in second-tier provinces.

He said ideally the leaders of those six ministries would come from like-minded political parties to create a consistent tourism development plan.

However, Mr Adith said it is disappointing the two leading parties in the coalition government seem to be ignoring the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

Regarding visa applications in China, he said even though the consulates offer more flexible group visa applications, such as requiring only flight bookings or hotel bookings, concerns remain over the 15-day waiting period compared with 3-4 days previously.

Mr Adith says several ministries need to collaborate to help the tourism industry.

The delay is preventing large groups from making last-minute decisions, resulting in fewer arrivals, said Mr Adith.

Travel agents also expressed concerns over wholesale scams arising following the pandemic.

The most recent case occurred this week when hundreds of tourists were unable to join a cruise tour from Laem Chabang as their bookings were not in the reservation system.

Retailers had to take responsibility by compensating the tourists themselves.

Siriwan Pornlertwiwat, a specialist on tour operators and guides from the Tourism Department, said to prevent such crimes, the department is planning to regulate wholesale companies, putting them in a new category.

The requirements for registration include two years of experience in outbound tours, registered capital of 2 million baht, a bank guarantee and evidence of airplane seat allocation with at least three airlines totalling 300 seats for two years of operation, said Mrs Siriwan.

The department still needs more discussions with private operators to formulate an appropriate criteria as strict rules might prevent mid-sized wholesalers from competing with big players, she said.



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