Phetchaburi targets 10 million tourists annually with soft power initiatives

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The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has unveiled an ambitious plan to attract over 10 million tourists annually to Phetchaburi Province, by using the concept of soft power to drive sustainable tourism and generate substantial economic benefits.

This announcement was made on May 13, ahead of the mobile meeting of Thailand’s cabinet which was held in Phetchaburi.

Minister of Tourism and Sports, Sermsak Pongpanich, emphasized the Ministry’s commitment to promoting Phetchaburi as a premier tourist destination through the development of soft power industries. Accompanied by key officials, including Ms. Ploy Thanikul, Assistant Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr. Santi Pawawai, Chief Inspector General of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Pol. Lt. Gen. Saksira Phueka-am, Commissioner of the Tourist Police, and Ms. Natthira Phangkhun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Tourism, the Minister visited Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park (Khao Wang) to underscore the province’s rich cultural heritage.

“Our goal is to generate 3.5 trillion baht in revenue for the country by enhancing 11 soft power industries, with a particular focus on Phetchaburi’s unique historical tourism, food, arts, and culture,” said Mr. Sermsak. “Phetchaburi’s strong foundation in these areas positions it as an ideal candidate for achieving our tourism objectives.”

The Ministry aims to coordinate with various agencies to boost the number of tourists to at least 10 million per year, contributing an estimated 35 billion baht to the local economy. This involves comprehensive collaboration with local authorities, businesses, and community organizations to enhance the province’s appeal and infrastructure.

Mr. Sermsak highlighted the importance of integrated tourism, which involves developing interconnected tourist destinations and creating a seamless experience for visitors. Key tourist spots such as Tham Nakwang, Tham Kangkhao Naiyang, Khao Nang Phanthurat Forest Park, Kok Sethi Historical Site, Thong Hatai New Theory Agricultural Learning Center (Thong Hatai Farm), Chang Hua Man Royal Project, Kaeng Krachan, and Laem Phak Bia are slated for development into a cohesive tourism network.

The Ministry’s strategy includes measures to support local communities and ensure that tourism growth benefits residents. Efforts are underway to improve facilities, such as tourist service centers, restrooms, parking lots, and roads, to meet the needs of visitors. Additionally, promotional activities will be ramped up to increase awareness of Phetchaburi’s attractions among both Thai and international tourists.

“The goal is to make Phetchaburi a hub for integrated tourism, which will generate income for local communities and contribute to the overall economy,” Mr. Sermsak said. “We are working closely with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and other agencies to promote Phetchaburi’s attractions and make them more widely known.”

Current tourism statistics

Phetchaburi has already seen significant growth in tourism. In 2023, the province welcomed 10,819,466 visitors, marking a 20.26% increase from the previous year. Of these, 10,670,442 were Thai visitors, and 149,024 were international tourists, representing a substantial increase of 186.59% in international arrivals. Revenue from tourism reached 32,334.35 million baht, with Thai visitors contributing 31,075.36 million baht and international visitors generating 1,258.99 million baht.

In the first quarter of 2024, Phetchaburi continued to see positive trends with 2,989,129 visitors, a 9.93% increase compared to the same period in 2023. The province generated 9,537 million baht in revenue during this period, with international visitors showing a remarkable 117.56% increase in spending.

Future plans

Looking ahead, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is optimistic about Phetchaburi’s potential to become an international tourism destination. The province’s policy to elevate its status to an international level, dubbed “Cha-am Inter,” is part of a broader effort to attract a diverse range of tourists and position Phetchaburi as a must-visit location.

Mr. Sermsak stressed the importance of continuous development and promotion of the province’s unique attractions, including the largest Naga statue in Thailand, which serves as a significant cultural and religious landmark. The promotion of such attractions aims to enhance the province’s visibility and attract tourists with a variety of interests.

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