BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) – Back to old traditions in Thailand.
The nomination of the new tourism minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, was not done for his previous experience in the tourism field but for his political position in the Chart Thai Party, the main coalition partner in the government with the People Power Party.
Weerasak was, however, Deputy Minister for Culture in 2004-05. The Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) immediately presented to the new minister what it judges as urgent development to assure the position of the country in the tourism field. Scared of increased competition from countries such a Macau, Malaysia and Singapore with prestigious tourism projects, the TCT Council called on the new minister to go ahead with big infrastructure projects in Thailand.
The TCT expects a go-ahead for convention centres in both Chiang Mai and Phuket, a huge marina in Phuket, an educational theme park in the Northeast and the further development of Suvarnabhumi airport to add more capacities.
The country also needs to develop new attractions along the coast, he estimates the TCT which suggests a budget of US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion for the projects.
The call from the Council will comfort the new Samak Sundaravej government which plans to revitalize some of the big infrastructure projects of the Thaksin Chinawatra era. Transport will definitely have priority with mass-transit projects in Bangkok getting the go-ahead and spending for large infrastructure will start again to stimulate consumption and the economy.