Published on October 30, 2007
These businesses will have a better chance to satisfy a wider range of customers faster and easier.
Chanitr Charnchainarong, an executive director of Sipa who was assigned to chair the e-commerce subcommittee, said the objective of the initiative is to create a market for the local software industry, especially software related to e-commerce. The concept is to match the demands of e-commerce and software in the tourism industry with local software providers.
The e-commerce sub-committees have been working with interested parties such as the Tourism Authority of Thailand; local software houses; relevant associations such as Tourism Technology Consortium, the Thai E- Commerce Association and the Thai Webmaster Association; and user businesses in the tourism industry such as hotels, spas and tour agents to encourage local businesses in the tourism industry to improve competitiveness through the use of e-commerce.
The first three priority e-commerce applications for the initial stage, said Chanitr, are electronic marketing, online reservations, and interactive digital mapping.
There are around 1,000 potential target clients in the tourism industry for local software-houses. They need software and systems to improve efficiency and productivity.
"The demand is out there in the market since many small and medium tourism businesses are in a tough competitive environment in which they not only have to survive but also be compatible. E- commerce is the key technology to assist them," said Chanitr.
This initiative is not the newest idea, Chanitr said, but it would integrate existing activities and projects such as the Tourism C- Commerce scheme to serve the software industry through promoting the wide use of e-commerce.
The idea is to turn these tourism businesses to provide online services for customers with provision of e-commerce under the new concept of software development known as Software as a Service (SaaS).
"We are now working on several tracks in parallel including creating demand through building awareness of e-commerce in local SME tourism businesses, developing strong suppliers through promoting SaaS awareness, and developing the SaaS standard to allow later software to be integrated and compatible," said Chanitr.
The project is scheduled to be released in the next two months which is the peak season for the tourism industry of Thailand. It expects online and real-time reservations will be a key application generating incremental revenue to the tourism business. This application will run well along with the other two applications - electronic marketing and interactive digital mapping - which are to be complementary with the online and real-time reservation application.
When the use of this application is on a massive scale, it will expand to develop further potential applications such as customer relationship management and electronic-payments.
"E-commerce itself has several aspects. We will begin with the tourism industry and once we make proof of concept we can apply it to other industries," said Chanitr.
The next industry is likely to be trading businesses. In the fourth quarter, Chanitr said the project would start to encourage trading with e-commerce, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. A solid plan is not yet complete.