The government plans to unveil a high-end tourism campaign, ‘Riviera Thailand’, to boost tourism in the western coastal provinces with Hua Hin front and centre.
According to a March Bangkok Post report; Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat has been instructed by the Deputy Prime Minister Dr Somkid Jatusripitak to unveil the “Riviera Thailand” campaign. This follows a Cabinet retreat in Phetchaburi last month when a proposal to turn a stretch of coastline southwest of Bangkok into a Thai Riviera was approved in principle.
The Minister said that Dr Somkid wants the project to boost tourism on the Andaman coast of Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Ranong; a coastline of some 500 kilometres. Dr Somkid noted that holidaymakers often visited seaside tourist destinations east of the Gulf of Thailand without paying attention to the Andaman Sea on the western side.
The ‘Rivera Thailand’ project aims to boost tourism to communities along the Andaman coast, said Minister Weerasak. “Riviera would highlight the beauty and luxury of the tourist attractions,” Weerasak said. The Tourism and Sports Minister’s call to build a socalled “Royal Coast” around the town of Hua Hin was also met with enthusiasm and approved by Cabinet according to the Bangkok Post report.
The Prime Minister said that the government plans to push for Hua Hin to become a connecting point for tourism to other provinces in the region. Spokesperson of the Prime Minister’s Office Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, said that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has drafted a tourism plan that includes developing car and train accessibility, and unique regional branding, with an emphasis on attracting high end tourists. The plan spans a 20 year timeline with a 5-year shortterm phase, a subsequent 5-year mid-term phase, and a 10-year long-term phase to develop high quality, and diverse ecological tourism.
In addition, the 20-year national transportation plan includes projects aimed at providing easy access to the region, with electric trains between Bangkok and Hua Hin, a dual track railway between Nakhon Pathomand Hua Hin, and various road extension programs to connect with communities. The first ‘Riviera Thailand’ project originated under the Thaksin Shinawatra government and was approved by cabinet in 2005, then shelved after the government was ousted in the 2006 coup. In June 2013, a previous Minister of Tourism and Sports Mr. Somsak Phurisrisak announced a tourism promotion campaign, named the ‘Royal Coast’, to promote Phetchaburi and Prachuab Khirikhan. In June 2016 the “Amazing Thailand Royal Coast Road Show”, was held in Singapore by the Tourism Authority of Thailand with the participation of provincial entrepreneurs.
Editor’s Comment: Local entrepreneurs have long lamented the lack of a regional marketing identity and strategy. With further details yet to be released; a sustained tourism marketing effort will now be eagerly awaited.