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Thailand’s tourism minister has announced a significant investment in the country’s cruise industry and large scale airport expansion.
Speaking at World Travel Market, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said the government will build three new ports in Krabi, Ko Samui and Surat Thani, from next year, and upgrade the Phuket port.
She said the government will launch a five-year plan of social and economic development in the country next year, “recognising that tourism is one of its priority economic sectors”.
“We are now focussing on enhancing visitor expenditure rather than growing visitor numbers, so we need to provide value-added products and services, motivating visitors to stay longer and spend more,” said Wattanavrangkul.
She continued: “We have witnessed the steady increase of cruise line visitors, welcoming an average of 100,000 per year.”
The Airports of Thailand Public Company plans to almost double the annual handling capacity of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, to 80 million passengers per year, by 2020.
The opening of a second terminal at Don Mueang International Airport will take its annual capacity to 30 million by the end of the year.
In addition, Phuket International Airport is being expanded to more than double its annual capacity, to 12.5 million passengers by 2016.
Other areas of focus for the government include sport tourism – Muay Thai, regatta, golf and biking.
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