The recognition of the role of tourism in sustainable development and the emphasis placed in the SDGs on the development of public policies for sustainable tourism is a landmark breakthrough that provides a unique opportunity for all governments to create a sound and favourable policy foundation.
The first two years of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda have shown that countries are making headway in aligning national strategies, adapting institutional frameworks and adjusting policies to realize the SDGs.
The countries’ efforts have been reported in the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), presented by UN Member States during the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2016 and 2017
In Thailand’s Voluntary National Review 2017, tourism is reported as Thailand’s main sector of economy. The tourism sector with the goal of increasing revenue from both Thai and non-Thai tourists, has a share total GDP of no less than 45% and not less than 3.0 trillion Baht (approximately 85.7 billion USD).
Tourism is seen as an opportunity to reduce poverty and promote Small and medium sized enterprises SME’s and entrepreneurship. The government implemented the project ’Pracharath Rak Samakee’ under the Public-Private-People Partnership (PPPP)to promote social enterprises and to increase income in rural communities via three strategic pillars: agriculture, product processing by small and medium-sized enterprises and community tourism.
Thailand attaches great importance to environmentally friendly development. The 20 Year National Strategy Framework advocates for sustainable growth including through implementing a range of industry-specific strategies and plans which foster SCP in manufacturing, agriculture, tourism education and transportation. To reduce energy consumption and pollution, the government has been promoting daily usage of bicycles and currently constructing safe bike routes for both transportation and tourism.
However, activities from tourism has affected the marine environment, and the integration of development polices and natural resource management remains a major challenge that could lead to further environmental and resources degradation and conflicts.