By Rahul Mittal | 20 Mar 2019

As one of the fastest growing sectors, the tourism industry is taking an increasingly important role on governments’ agendas around the world.

In 2018, Thailand’s capital Bangkok took the crown once more as the world’s most visited tourist destination with over 20 million international visitors. But how does Thailand’s government ensure that managing this level of mass tourism will lead to sustainable success?

With the growing number of international arrivals into Thailand, the tourism industry players wanted to discover what was necessary to raise their country’s competitive edge in the tourism game, especially among other Southeast Asian competitors such as Singapore and Vietnam.

The 8th annual Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) looked to address this issue in January 2019. With the running theme ‘Managing Tourism – Engaging Great Experiences and Sustainable Outcomes’, the country’s premier hospitality event saw 850 tourism and hospitality industry leaders gathered at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok for an afternoon of interactive and informative on-stage sessions.

The Forum looked at how the country was developing new infrastructure and facilities, including huge integrated tourism projects, exciting retail and entertainment attractions, branded theme parks, urban and intercity transport networks, and so much more.

Cistri Director, Rahul Mittal, shared his thoughts about ‘Destination and Tourism Management – Essentials of Master Planning (City and Resort)’ with Robert V.R. Hecker, Managing Director (Asia Pacific) at Horwath HTL. Their discussion was based around three major principles:

  1. Having a long-term vision
  2. Coordinating land-use and transport planning
  3. Underpinning any proposals with economics to ensure long-term sustainability

The importance of discussing these management techniques will grant decision makers the foresight to create integrated master plans that will help them achieve their long-term goals. In Australia, cities such as Melbourne and Brisbane have made concerted efforts to redeveloping their riverfront precincts to gain foothold in the tourism industry. A prime example of this coordinated approach is the upcoming Queens Wharf development. 

Rahul cited Singapore as an example of having a robust long-term vision. This is then backed by flexible master plans, allowing the city to adapt to the ever-changing market demands such as the provision of infrastructure ahead of real estate development to enable market-driven transit-oriented developments. Rahul encouraged decision-makers in Bangkok to follow Singapore’s and Australia’s footsteps and transform the under-capitalised Chao Phraya River into a major tourism opportunity.

Rahul also shared his experience working on applying economics to integrated master planning during the Orchard Road business strategy, saying that this experience shows the importance of the relationship between economics and integrated master planning that can aid governments in achieving their city-shaping initiatives.

For more information about TTF, head to their website here or get in touch with Rahul for more of his insights.

Header image courtesy of TTF.