Thailand, after hosting the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2016, invited representatives to visit northeastern Khon Kaen province from Wednesday to Thursday to promote accessible tourism for all, the theme of the World Tourism Day 2016.
It is the first time for Thailand to be the host country of the official celebration of the World Tourism Day, which falls on Sept. 27 annually.
Representatives visited tourist attractions in the province to testify the accessibility as well as experience the local culture.
During the trip, representatives with disabilities travelled with buses equipped with wheelchair lifts.
In the silk village, representatives used a newly-built restroom designed for persons with disabilities.
The Khon Kaen route is the country’s first “tourism for all” route and more of its kind is expected in the future, said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thai minister of Tourism and Sports.
Representatives said Thailand still needs more advancement in its tourism accessibility while spoke highly of Thai people’s kindness and willing to help.
“The people have been so friendly and so helpful, so even though you may not have the infrastructure…the people still make it possible to travel,” Said Martin Heng, Lonely Planet’s accessible travel manager, who have travelled to many countries on his wheelchair.
“The good resource for Thailand is people, they are very kind,” said Hideto Kijima, president of Japan Accessible Tourism Center, adding that Thailand needs more infrastructure such as tactile paving systems, and mass transport systems.
According to Kobkarn, the ministry also aimed to promote the local tourism of Khon Kaen as well as the northeastern region.
The northeastern Thailand, or Isan, consists of 20 provinces, which are not as famous as the northern Chiang Mai or the southern Phuket among foreign tourists.
“We have to admit that when we put forward Khon Kaen to our representatives, they had no idea about it, but now after the trip, they are impressed by the province and the local people,” She said.
The northeastern region of Thailand has some prominent tourist attractions, especially Khmer style temples that date back to 11th century, such as Phanom Rung in Buriram Province and Phimai historical park in Nakhon Ratchasima province.