Many a Bangkok City Hotel see thousands of travellers come through their doors every year, thanks to Thailand welcoming approximately 37 million visitors annually. That number is still growing, and, now, the industry is wondering what else the country needs to do to raise its competitive edge in order to stay a desirable destination, especially as neighboring countries like Vietnam up their tourism game.
According to business leaders at the Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) in Bangkok on January 21, 2019, the country needs out of the box thinking and bold leadership.
The Mall Group Chairwoman Supaluck Umpujh stressed that the country isn’t lacking for cultural and natural attractions, so what it needs now is a more vibrant entertainment sector, as well as more iconic and noteworthy attractions and events in order to boost tourism spending in the country and turn it into ‘the playground of Asia’.
She says that Thailand has long been seen as a ‘backpacker’s paradise’, which has led to low tourism revenue for the country. People, she posited, buy cameras in Singapore, but take photos of Thai temples; they eat, they stay, maybe in a Bangkok City Hotel, but they don’t really spend.
Supaluck, dubbed Thailand’s retail queen, says that she wants the country to move past its ‘low entertainment’ reputation, and attract people with entertainment options that are immersive, fun, and family-friendly.
InterContinental Hotels Group Managing Director for Southeast & Korea, Clarence Tan, stated that mega developments, like the new Bangkok Arena, can present key investment opportunities with which to attract investors and hoteliers.
He says that people tend to go to resorts for sun, sand, sea, shopping, sustainability, and sports & entertainment, which makes these categories safe investment options for those looking to put money into the country.
Other business leaders added that Thailand is still having troubles keeping up with the arrival volume, so they hope that the Thai government would address issues of infrastructure and capacity. On top of that, they see the Thai railway network as outdated, and believe that mass transit lines in key cities will help the country in creating new scenic routes and better experiences.