Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) with the budgetary support from the Science, Research, and Innovation Fund, together with a group of researchers participated in health innovation research aimed at promoting health tourism for all people in various dimensions under the theme “Friendly Tourism City – Healthy City – Aging Society City – Universal Design City – A City that Leaves Noone Behind.”
On December 15th, 2022, the Program Management Unit for Competitiveness (PMUC) under the Science, Research and Innovation Fund, participated in research presentations in the areas of science, research and innovation at the event “Thailand Friendly Design Expo 2022: the 6th Civilization Exhibition of Universal Design Architecture and Health Innovations for All” with Asst. Prof. Supawadee Phothiyarat, senior specialist, TSRI, and chairman of the Tourism and Creative Economy Subcommittee, PMUC, along with executives and researchers attending the event, which was held between 15th – 18th December 2022 at the BITEC-Bangna Exhibition and Convention Center Bangkok
Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, who presided over the event, said that the reason it is necessary to give importance to Universal Design architecture is because in Thailand the number of the elderly and the disabled is increasing. The elderly population, at 13 million, makes up almost 20% of the total population of the country. The disabled, at 2.1 million, account for 3% of the total population. In addition, there are young children, pregnant women, patients in recovery. They all need a facility called “universal design”. As well, government policy has continuously given importance to universal design. In the past, we can see the improvement of government buildings, tourist attractions, and many places of worship to support people who need physical aid in the form of universal design. In his capacity, as chairman of the Committee on Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, and committee member of the National Committee for the Elderly, he has accelerated the implementation of cooperation between the government, public and private sectors in the form of private investment in state affairs (Public Private Partnership: PPP) to promote creation of jobs, protection of rights and creation of universal designs in public places for persons with disabilities as well as the elderly.
“Thank you to all parties who contributed to this FD Expo event as an important force to stimulate and encourage all sectors in society, including the government, private and public sectors, recognizing the value and importance of universal design architecture. Tourism for all towards improving the quality of life for the people as a whole. And to turn the underprivileged into people who receive equal privilege in the future”, added the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce.
In this occasion, Asst. Prof. Supawadee Podhiyaraj received the Friendly Design Award 2022 in the category of “Honorary Universal Design Architecture Ambassador of the Year 2023” by promoting a research program that supports tourism for all, Thailand Tourism for All, with a mechanism to support universal design architecture, so that everyone, regardless of gender, age and physical condition, can access resources and tourism activities and all available amenities. Ultimately, the policy of living up to international standards and Friendly Design concept should embody safety, modernity, fairness, equity, and equality.
The exhibition booth of the Science, Research and Innovation Fund, PMUC, attracted a lot of attention from visitors, where research results in health tourism were presented in various dimensions, such as Lanna massage for the general public, pregnant women and children; creation of prototype Lanna spa establishments that pass Lanna spa certification standards; product prototype developed from Lanna herbs; and spa products that are designed for the modern lifestyle. Demonstration of Thai massage, making inhaler and herbal compress balls, as well as a demonstration of the Thai royal massage and Lanna Thai massage, which had been part of presenting Thailand’s Soft Power at the APEC 2022 event hosted by Thailand.
In the end, the Thailand Friendly Design Expo 2022 is the ultimate exhibition of innovations for health rehabilitation, and is the largest event to promote equal rights in the ASEAN region. There are exhibitions and sales of products, innovations, technologies and services for health rehabilitation, as well as travel for the elderly, recovering patients, people with disabilities and their families, including the health conscious general public.