We interviewed Mr. Weerasak Khosrat, Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Kingdom of Thailand. “I want to come back to try new areas and activities” – Travel Watch

We interviewed Mr. Weerasak Khosrat, Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Kingdom of Thailand. “I want to come back to try new areas and activities” – Travel Watch

Mr. Weerasak Korsrat, Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Kingdom of Thailand

The 19th Thailand Festival 2018, sponsored by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo, opened the two-day “19th Thailand Festival 2018” in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo from May 12th to 13th. Tokyo May 12-13).

Mr. Weerasak Khosrat, Minister of Tourism and Sports, visited Japan from Thailand and was interviewed at the booth of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

──What kind of tourism measures will you promote during your current ministerial term?

Mr Colat:The first topic I want to talk about is the smiling part of “The Land of Smiles”. This is the smile of the host, but also the smile of the guest. In other words, we’re looking at satisfaction, not how much revenue has increased or how many people have grown.

I’m wrong to think that tourism is just a tool for economic development. There are various misunderstandings and incomprehensions in the society, but I believe that tourism can solve these problems.

In 2017, Thailand welcomed 35 million tourists, each of whom became a tourism ambassador, telling us in their own country, “Thailand is amazing”. This is the power of tourism. So I believe it is good for Thailand and it is in the national interest for Japanese people to come to these festivals (Thai festivals) and learn more about Thailand. And through communicating with the Japanese, I feel that Thailand can absorb the advantages of the Japanese, such as their orderliness, cleanliness, and politeness.

I think one of the challenges from now on is to get people to come to Thailand not only from big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, but also from rural areas. According to statistics, 80% of Japanese tourists visiting Thailand are repeat customers. I hope they challenge Thailand more and more with new regions and new events, I hope they go deep into the heart of Thailand.

About 15 strongholds such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai are already well-known as major destinations, but there are also many events that are not known even in these big cities, and there are also neighborhoods with a strong old life culture.

As a regional city, I would like to introduce about 55 other regions. Interestingly, there are also social initiatives such as “Mangrove Bank” and “Crab Bank”. In the case of crabs, the females are farmed, the eggs are hatched, and the bags full of baby crabs are given to tourists and released into the river. By doing so, it is useful to those in the community, visitors will be able to experience it, and it will have a positive impact on the natural environment. Of course, adult hairy crabs can also be eaten in the community.

Beyond the traditional sightseeing route, such as dining at a restaurant, I want people to learn about the behind-the-scenes information about how food is made.

For those who like to watch sports, Buriram province has a big motorcycle race called MotoGP. By the way, in addition to sports facilities (such as race tracks), Buriram has Khmer ruins older than Angkor Wat, which is more than 1000 years old. The Phanom Dragon site is said to be the prototype of Angkor Wat.

In the dry season of November, the southern province of Phang Nga hosts a big bike race for everyone. This is a big event similar to the Tour de France. Hua Hin (Brachus Prachuap) is popular for kitesurfing, pulled by yachts and not too windy. It is relatively easy to participate in marathons, jogging races, and bicycle races. There are 600 races held in various places every year. By participating and experiencing these things, you can get in touch with a side of Thailand that was previously unknown.


Mr. Weerasak Khorrat was interviewed

──How will you connect with the audience through Thailand Music Festival?

Mr Colat:I think Thai Festival is a showcase, a place to try and experience Thailand before going there. There is a lot of food and a lot of fruit. You can also try handicrafts. But when it comes to fruit, I want you to go to an orchard in Thailand. You can plant a sapling in an orchard in Thailand, or you can make an appointment when it is in bloom and pick it up when the fruit comes out.

Thai Festival’s policy is to focus on getting people to walk into the booth to experience, not just buy. We would like to see booths in local cities in Thailand, in fact there are booths in southern Thailand too.

Also, at the booth of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, we are introducing attractions in Phrae and Nan provinces, which are known as the undeveloped regions of Northern Thailand. Traditional dances are performed on stage, which also conveys the charm of the Thai countryside.

The Thailand Festival will be held in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, but we hope to hold it in Fukuoka in the future.

──What is the target of the Japanese market?

Mr Colat:I especially hope that young people will visit Thailand more. This is also the theme of this booth, but I hope you can experience the diversity of Thai life and culture (related article “Thailand Tourism Authority, 2018 marketing strategy to discover diversity in Thailand ‘Open to new hues'”).

Another target is women. I’m bringing two crafts (indigo dyeing and paper cutting workshops) for this Thai festival that I think women will be very interested in. This paper decoration is used in temples, but I would like you to pay attention to such decorations and cloth products.

We will also provide more proactive information on how to enjoy the area after sunset rather than just sightseeing on a hot day. We will promote universal design/accessibility across the country so that sightseeing can be done easily even with a suitcase or a wheelchair.

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