DASTA director, Nalik-atipak Sangsanit, said the organisation hopes to lift Sukhothai’s status as a world heritage site in ASEAN over the next five years (2013 to 2017), by connecting it with other UNESCO endorsed sites in Mekong region neighbours .
“According to the five-year plan, we will use Sukhothai as a connecting point to other World Heritage sites in the ASEAN region to increase value.”
“We need the backing of the Ministry of Transport to add Sukhothai to the 745-km high speed train route linking Bangkok, Phitsanulok and Chiang Mai.”
The director added: “The organisation will also ask the ministry to add more flights from Sukhothai to other towns that have world heritage sites in ASEAN such as Vietnam’s Hue, Laos’ Luang Prabang, Myanmar’s Bagan archaeological zone, and Indonesia’s Prambanan temple compound in Java.”
Bangkok Airways operates flights to Sukhothai through its Bangkok hub and offers connecting services from Phuket, and Samui. It also has international routes to the Maldives, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Yangon.
More connecting flights are needed to link World Heritage sites in ASEAN, he said.
“If Thailand provides good and convenient transport links, it has the potential to be a centre to link tourists to ASEAN World Heritage sites.”
Sukhothai was the capital of the first kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries.
The site was recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. The historical town has a private airport owned by Bangkok Airways which offers daily services. No other airlines serve the airport. There is also an airport at Phitsanulok which is 60 km east of Sukhothai.