Thailand’s plan for sporting gold

Thailand seeks to position itself as a predominant destination for sport tourism, and looks to Australia to achieve its ambitions of becoming a world-class sports hub in ASEAN following an executive training program for Thai sports officials.

The University of Queensland (UQ) has aided Thailand in its quest for sport excellence both on and off the field. Delivered by UQ’s Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE), the program aims to enhance the skills of the country’s sports administrators and government officials of the Sports Authority of Thailand  (SAT), and is guided by the developmental direction of Thailand’s sixth National Sports Development Plan (2017-2021).

Thai public officials participated in three weeks of capacity building activities, and engaged with key Australian and Thai sporting institutions with strong expertise in sports administration and management, as part of the onshore and offshore program.

In collaboration with ICTE, The University of Queensland academics facilitated a 10-day workshop in the sport tourism destination of Hua Hin, Thailand, aimed at developing SAT’s provincial administrators to deliver on the country’s sport development plan.

Dr Sheranne Fairley, from the UQ Business School and lead presenter in Hua Hin, said the program helped participants gain practical ideas, tools, and approaches to enhancing the management of sport.

“The officials gained new knowledge and skills from the workshops to develop strategic plans for their provinces. I am confident they will take their new knowledge to their provinces, and act as leaders in the management of sport in Thailand.

“The workshops also facilitated opportunities for sport stakeholders to connect with tourism stakeholders. We invited the Tourism Authority of Thailand to present at the workshop to help create a dialogue between the relevant stakeholders,” Dr Fairley said

The second part of the program welcomed SAT’s provincial administrators to Australia, where they visited key sport facilities and institutions in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, including Tennis Australia, The Queensland Academy of Sport, and facilities that were built or upgraded for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Renee Winton, Manager, Business Development at ICTE, said the Thai sport administrators acquired an Australian perspective that facilitated intercultural learning.

“The program is an ambitious long-term endeavour, and high on Thailand’s national agenda. ICTE has successfully delivered the program to almost 50 participants over the last two years, and continues to work closely with the Sports Authority of Thailand to enhance the management, intercultural and interpersonal capacity of public officials,” Ms Winton said.

Sport is one of the fastest growing sectors globally, and is confronted with increased complexity, disruption and integrity issues. The Thai sports industry has generated over THB 80 billion ($US$2.6 billion) in revenue and has created more than 180,000 jobs. The market is expected to expand at five percentage annually, leading to forecasted market value of THB 100 billion (US$3.2 billion) by 2021.

The program is supported by Austrade at the Australian Embassy, Thailand.

Last updated:
23 July 2019