|The Prime Minister chose to wear his floral tie ...|
I spent today sitting in the e-ASEAN eTravel Forum and have come away with some inspiring news about tourism in the Kingdom to share:
Prime Minister Abhisit told the assembled mass of regional tourism luminaries, hoteliers, and freelance travel hacks looking to freeload another buffet lunch (hey, hold on, I resemble that remark), that Thailand tourism is kicking in 7% of the country's GDP, and -- whereas around 15 million visitors came to Thailand last year -- this year they are expecting more like 17 million. Jing Jing. Pop the champagne and tap the keg!
"With tourism we're able to bring people together in friendship," he told me over a quiet cup of tea in the corner, adding that Thailand is moving in a much 'greener' direction overall. With that, I had to excuse myself, apologising that I had many other things to cover this morning even if his schedule was rather free ...
Khun Apichai of the Tourism Technology Association built on the same positive theme: "At ITB 2011, the World Tourism Council released a research paper which ranked Thailand #5 in the world in tourism growth prospects or the next 10 years." Another body (sorry, I wasn't paying 100% attention, dear readers!) ranked Thailand #4 in global growth potential.
And Thailand hopes to make a LOT of new friends when it bids for World Expo 2020.
Etc etc. And, well, what do you know, it's lunchtime already. Sorry got to rush off and beat the buffet queue
Are you surprised by the bullish growth projections above?
More on travelling to Thailand: www.thailandtourism.org