Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein has said that his state needs to take economic growth lessons from Thailand to boost productivity in various sectors, including key ones like tourism and agriculture.
Mein, who was on a four-day tour of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces of Thailand to oversee the signing of important agreements on education and research exchange programmes with two important varsities, said Thailand, which is spread over a 513, 000 square kilometer area, is hilly like Arunachal Pradesh, but has turned into a global tourism hub, receiving a record 32.59 million foreign visitors in 2016.
Tourism makes up for about six percent of the Thai economy as it was the most visited country in South East Asia in 2013, according to World Tourism Organisation.
Estimates of tourism receipt directly contributing to Thai gross domestic product of 12 trillion Baht ranging from nine percent (one trillion Baht, 2013) to 16 percent. The indirect effects of tourism account for 20.2 percent (2.4 trillion Baht) of Thailand's gross domestic product.
India, on the other hand, received 10.37 lakh visitors, while Arunachal, known for its natural beauty, received only 6,598 visitors during that period, he said to drive home his message.
Chiang Mai, the capital of the Lanna Kingdom after its founding in 1296, today has imposing double-lane roads lined with skyscrapers, reflecting the standard of growth and well being among the people.
Mein said the Chiang Mai Royal Agricultural Research Center (RARC) set up by the King to end extensive opium cultivation, is offering technology to farmers for higher production.
The RARC also offers a variety of winter fruits like Chinese pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, and strawberries. In winter (January to February), the area is covered with a blanket of pink Wild Himalayan Cherry flowers, attracting numerous bird species.
Thailand is the world's 50th largest country and 20th most populous with around 66 million people whose per capita income is around Rs 4 lakh per annum. Mein said 50 years ago Re 1 was equivalent to 2 Baht ( Thailand currency) which has been reversed by the positive attitude and commitment to speedy socio-economic development of Thais.
The city offers 23,000 free public Wi-Fi Internet hotspots, while the internet in the nation includes 10Gbit/s high-speed fiber-optic lines that can be leased and ISPs such as KIRZ to provide residential internet services, he added.