Thapanee Kiatphaiboon takes the helm at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

With a master’s degree in science from the University of Surrey in the UK, Thapanee joined TAT in 1999 and has since held several pivotal positions within the organization. These roles include Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business and, most recently, Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing.

During her tenure as TAT Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing, Thapanee spearheaded numerous innovative tourism initiatives aimed at bolstering Thailand’s economy. These initiatives encompassed workations in Thailand, faith and religious tourism routes, and solo travel experiences. As a result, they stimulated a remarkable 151.45 million domestic trips in 2022—equivalent to about 88% of the record set in 2019—generating an impressive 641.5 billion Baht in revenue.

TAT expects 35 million foreign visitors in 2024

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has unveiled its strategy plan for 2024, which calls for respecting tight guidelines for sustainable tourism and utilising Thai soft power to promote luxury travel to Thailand. The tourism body expects to welcome 35 million foreign tourists and inspire 200 million domestic trips in 2024.

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In her role as Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business, Thapanee earned accolades for her leadership in launching the groundbreaking Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification program. This program not only ensured that hotels and services met rigorous health and safety standards but also became a mandatory requirement for hotels seeking registration as quarantine facilities during periods of stringent COVID-19 control measures. Its international recognition was in alignment with the WTTC SafeTravels protocols.

Thapanee also spearheaded the introduction of the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme to promote Thailand’s reopening, subsequently giving rise to innovative entry schemes, including Villa Quarantine, Yacht Quarantine, Golf Quarantine, and the internationally acclaimed Phuket Sandbox model, which served as a benchmark for the country’s reopening strategy.

Thailand is to accelerate tourist visa processing

In a bid to boost its tourism sector, Thailand is embarking on a mission to drastically reduce tourist visa processing times from a lengthy seven working days to a mere three. This ambitious endeavour is currently underway, following the successful integration of crucial tourist information across various government agencies.

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Recognized as a tech-savvy individual with a profound understanding of social media, Thapanee played a pivotal role in harnessing technology and social media platforms to promote and advance Thailand’s tourism sector. Her outstanding achievements in this domain include collaborating with Google Thailand on the Google Street View project and managing the ‘Amazing Thailand’ social media platforms.

As a fervent advocate for Thailand’s tourism, Thapanee has played an instrumental role in developing a diverse range of special interest tourism products, encompassing health and wellness tourism, yacht and cruise tourism, community-based tourism, and the “King’s Wisdom for Sustainable Tourism” project, which garnered the prestigious PATA Grand Award in 2018 within the Education and Training category.

In her earlier years with TAT, Thapanee gained widespread recognition for her invaluable contributions to promoting and nurturing intra-regional travel within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).