H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, prime minister of Thailand, presided over the opening of the 2017 World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit and delivered opening remarks to more than 800 delegates attending the event on April 26. H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, deputy prime minister, presided over the welcome gala dinner specially designed to showcase the Unique Local Thai Experiences.
The appearances of both the Thai Prime Minister and the deputy prime minister at this flagship global private sector event signify Thailand’s commitment for the development of the tourism industry, the Kingdom’s largest export.
Prayut said Thailand’s tourism revenue rose 21 per cent in 2015 to 2.26 trillion baht (US$66.47 billion), and despite unfavourable world economic conditions, Thai tourism registered an 11 per cent growth in 2016 to 2.52 trillion baht (US$74.1 billion).
“I am proud that Thailand has been selected to host one of the world’s most important international tourism conferences. This reinforces Thailand’s readiness to host global conferences in addition to its potential to be a leading travel and tourism hub in Asia and the world,” added General Prayut.
Hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), this is the first time that the WTTC Global Summit has been held in Southeast Asia. This year’s event was also attended by ministers in the tourism and related fields from 13 nations as well as Dr. Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), alongside more than 800 delegates from 58 countries.
Organised under the theme of “Transforming Our World,” this year’s summit was addressed by David Cameron, former prime minister of the UK. Other speakers included Dr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary general, Tony Fernandes, AirAsia CEO, David Scowsill, WTTC president and CEO, Gary Chapman, president Group Services & DNATA of Emirates Group, Rob Rosenstein, Agoda CEO, Rob Torres, Google managing director for Travel, H. E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand and Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO Siam Piwat Group.
WTTC reported that Thailand is among the top 10 for the long-term tourism growth in the world.