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UNWTO Gives Support to Thailands Tourism Industry

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Monday, 5 July 2010

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and PATA have conveyed their strong support of Thailand and its tourism industry as the country returns to normalcy following political unrest earlier in the year.

While recent unrest in the capital of Bangkok and the provinces of Thailand has been brought under control, the events had a significant impact on the flow of tourists, a major source of jobs and export revenues for the country. Against this background, a Special Meeting on International Solidarity with Thai Tourism was organized by UNWTO and PATA in Bangkok in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand.

The Thai Government has been quick to show support to this key industry and implement recovery measures in close partnership with the private sector. Measures include a financial scheme for tourism entrepreneurs and small businesses affected by the unrest, an exemption from tourist visa fees for foreigners and a landing and parking fee discount for airports.

UNWTO and its Members stand behind Thailand, said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, speaking at the event. Drawing on the experience gained from the UNWTO Tourism Resilience Committee, valuable lessons and strategies used by other Member States to confront similar crisis situations will be shared. This meeting also represents an expression of solidarity with Thailand from the international tourism community.

Tourism plays a major role in the social and economic development of Thailand, contributing significantly to its GDP and job creation, he added. With government support, collaboration between the public and private sector and the support of the international tourism community, the Thai tourism industry is sure to recuperate its losses and maintain its position as one of the major tourism destinations worldwide.

Thailand has seen its tourism industry impacted in the past, from the SARS pandemic in 2003, to the Tsunami in 2004 and the closure of the airports of Phuket, Krabi and Hat Yai, as well as Bangkoks, and Thailands main international gateway, Suvarnabhumi in 2008. Nevertheless, tourism has proved extremely resilient. Participants at the Meeting expressed their confidence that tourism would recover rapidly, especially given the commitment of the Thai people and Government to support the industry.

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