Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has become the latest head of state to join the Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign.
The campaign, a joint UNWTO / World Travel & Tourism Council initiative, is aimed at rallying support for tourism among world leaders.
“The stance of the Thai government towards tourism is one of strong support, as evidenced by the announcement of 2012 as the Miracle Year of Amazing Thailand,” said prime minister Shinawatra.
“In this regard, we need to focus on the needs of tourists and leave them with the best possible impression.
“We need to make sure that relevant infrastructure for hotels and restaurants is in place, as well as advancing in other areas such as visa facilitation.”
Presenting the prime minister with an Open Letter on the importance of tourism to global growth and development, UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai praised the government for its commitment to the tourism sector, particularly in times of crisis.
“The Thai Government has been a strong advocate of tourism for years,” said Rifai.
“A direct result of this support has been the phenomenal rise of Thailand up the tourism league tables.
“Today, despite the challenges of the past few years, Thailand remains one of the world’s most-visited and attractive destinations.”
The meeting with the Prime Minister was held ahead of the 24th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia during which senior tourism officials debated how to ensure the sustainability of their fast-growing tourism markets.