Thailand plays the role of a leading country in GMS regional tourism, inviting executives of the National Tourism Promotion Agency and groups of entrepreneurs from more than 15 agencies joined together to show their cooperation in pushing the target number of foreign tourists to the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) to exceed 95 million. people by 2025.

Senior tourism officials and executives from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar are to be special guests of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus to be held between 5-7 June in the stunning coastal district of Khao Lak, Phang-nga Province.

On 5 June 2024, two days before the official opening of the TTM+, they will be escorted on special tours of Phuket, Thailand’s idyllic island resort and the gateway to Khao Lak. The itinerary will cover Ban Bang Rong Community, Phuket Old Town Community as well as various facilities promoting Sports and Health Tourism, Gastronomy Tourism, Marine Tourism and other recreational tourism products.

TAT Governor Miss Thapanee Kiatphaibool said, “This trip is a very important part of the policy set by Mr. Sermsak Phongpanich, Minister of Tourism and Sports, to further strengthen the relations between Thailand and our neighbours in the Greater Mekong Subregion. We share common borders, shared values and shared culture and heritage. I strongly believe that we can all learn from each other and help each other.”

The guests will include Mr. Seila Hul, Under Secretary of State, the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia; Mr. Khom Douangchantha, Director General of the Tourism Marketing Department, the Lao PDR Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism; Mr. Maung MaungKyaw, Director General of Directorate of Hotels and Tourism, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar; Miss SuvimolThanasarakij, Executive Director, the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), and executives of 15 other companies and agencies.

The GMS covers six member countries including Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, China (Yunnan and Guangxi), Thailand and Vietnam. Joint tourism plans for the entire region project total visitor arrivals of 95 million in 2025.

The Thailand Travel Mart is called “TTM+” because it also includes the GMS countries, giving them the opportunity to participate in Thailand’s leading B2B Travel Trade show. Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar have booths at this year’s TTM+ which will be visited by 425 hosted tour operators (buyers) from 50 countries around the world.

Said Miss Thapanee, “One of the key components of the Royal Thai Government’s IGNITE Thailand Vision is to position Thailand as a Tourism Hub of ASEAN. During the TTM+ 2024 event, we will be discussing ways to improve rail, road, air and sea connectivity between Thailand and the GMS countries to make it easier to design creative packages and facilitate seamless travel to and within the region.

She added, “Ever since the Tourism Authority of Thailand facilitated the first Mekong Tourism Forum in 1996 in cooperation with the Pacific Asia Travel Association, we have been active supporters of tourism and travel in the GMS. We strongly believe that intra-regional tourism has great promise and can play a major role in boosting our economies, promoting culture and heritage and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

‘It also meets all the objectives of our various regional and sub-regional forums such as BIMSTEC, BRICS and APEC, and also builds on the bilateral agenda now under way between Thailand-China, Thailand-South Korea and Thailand-Malaysia, etc.” The TAT Governor also thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Transport, National Economic and Social Development Council, Board of Investment for their kind cooperation in promoting Thailand as a Tourism Hub of ASEAN.

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