Raising the stakes, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has taken a comprehensive decision to focus on revenue-generating ‘quality’ tourism after announcing a change in its tourism strategy earlier in the year.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be focussing on garnering the attention of quality tourists who spend more, thus contributing to revenue generation as opposed to just mass tourism. Thailand welcomed over 28.8 million international visitors from January to October 2017 and earned USD 47.15 billion in tourism revenue. With a drive to increase the amount while welcoming new and recurring tourists, TAT will be shifting its focus to the niche segments of travel. Its new marketing concept ‘Open to the New Shades of Amazing Thailand’ will work towards this goal by promoting newer attractions and experiences.
Isra Stapanaseth, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand told India Outbound, “This year of ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year’, we are planning to alter the image of Thailand to our tourists by throwing in newer attractions, destinations, and local experiences. For example, Thai cuisine is famous for its taste and quality, and we have taken this as one of the pointers for attracting newer tourists. We are also promoting Thailand as a wedding destination as the potential of this sector is immense.”
In a recent launch of the ‘Open to the New Shades of Amazing Thailand’ campaign in India, Yuthasak Supasorn, the TAT Governor said that tourism is the primary economic activity of Thailand and thus the focus will now be on identifying niche travel segments in respective markets and organise activities to target them. This responsibility will be with the TAT offices in the source market.
He also stated, “Niche tourists will be the key direction we intend to take going forward. From the Indian market perspective, TAT will be focusing on MICE, Weddings, Sports, and Health & Wellness tourism.”
Emphasising on the importance of India as a source country, Supasorn further stated, “India is now one of our top ten sources of visitor arrivals, a member of a small club of countries that generate more than one million visitors a year. In 2017, Thailand recorded 1.41 million visitor arrivals from India, up by 18 pc over 2016, generating an estimated INR 120 billion in tourism income. More and more Indian travellers are diversifying beyond their traditional spots of Bangkok and Pattaya and exploring Chiang Rai, Rayong, Trat, Hua Hin and Samut Songkram.
In 2018, bilateral business and MICE travel is expected to increase as India’s economy grows and new airlines launch more bilateral flights. The completion of the Asian Highway road linkage through Myanmar will allow a whole new generation of travellers to open up new corridors of travel between South and Southeast Asia.”
Presently, there are 240 weekly flights between Thailand and 17 major cities in India by 11 airlines: Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo Airlines, Spice Jet, Thai Air Asia, Bhutan Airlines, Druk Air, Garuda Indonesia and Thai Smile.
Indians are eligible for visa-on-arrival facilities at Thailand’s international checkpoints.