The agency expects more than 10,000 tourism-related entrepreneurs to register for evaluation under the standard during the first three months of the programme.
Companies that pass the evaluation will receive 4Q certification and be "white-listed" as quality tourism businesses. Subsequently, the list of companies will be distributed to all foreign offices of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, as well as to Thai embassies and the department's business contacts abroad.
Director-general Wanasiri Morakul said the department's mission in 2017 would be to focus on holding tourism businesses to a proper code of conduct.
Issued by the National Tourism Policy Committee led by Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, the new 4Q standard was passed to the department for implementation after instructions from Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
The goal is to solicit some 10,000 tourism businesses to register for evaluation by the end of February.
Ms Wanasiri said 4Q is the basic foundation of all tourism standards and businesses can easily upgrade themselves to the next level, the internationally accepted Thailand Tourism Standards (TTS), in the future.
Tourism businesses with 4Q certification will also be given assistance by the department in terms of marketing as one of the benefits.
The 4Q standards focus on legitimate businesses, with fair product/service pricing and safety and security, to be in line with the government's tourism policy to create quality tourism.
They include four points. Q1 is legitimacy, meaning a tourism business must be lawfully registered as a juristic person and must be licensed by the government to operate the registered business.
Q2 is fair pricing, meaning a tourism business must clearly display and commit to the price of offered goods and/or services. Q3 is hygiene, and Q4 is safety, meaning a tourism business must be certified for its safety in services.
Certain types of tourism-related businesses eligible for the 4Q standards include those dealing with tourism-related goods and services such as souvenir shops, spas and amusement parks.
Other types of businesses include restaurants, transport providers and department-certified tour agencies.
Interested tourism entrepreneurs can apply for evaluation through the department's website or in person at provincial tourism and sports offices in all provinces.
Businesses that pass the evaluation will receive the right to use the 4Q tourism standard emblem, and be awarded a certificate with the condition for annual quality checks and a biannual renewal.
Ms Wanasiri said TTS is based on tourism activities such as tour planning, transport, accommodation, food, entertainment, shopping, tourist attractions and Asean standards.
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