Driving visitor flows to provinces with less than four million annual trips and alleviating the negative impacts of tourism will be key challenges that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) seeks to address next year under its Action Plan for 2019.
Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT governor, said during a press conference earlier this week that the organisation seeks to better balance the economic value of inbound visitor arrivals with the socio-cultural and environmental impacts of tourism growth.
Promoting secondary tourist destinations has been identified as a new focus for TAT in 2019, coming on top of its existing three priorities – gastronomy, content marketing and environmental awareness.
Secondary tourist destinations
Travel routes will be created to boost the identity of and distribute visitor flows to secondary tourist destinations. TAT will work with the public and private sectors and local communities to review their willingness to receive visitors and assess their marketing needs.
Potential target groups include senior citizens and female travellers, who are showing good growth in terms of both volume and purchasing power; the millennials, who are adept at using social media to communicate powerful messages; and working executives, who will be targeted by a Travel on Weekday campaign to reduce the impact of peaks-and-troughs in daily and seasonal demand.
Gastronomy will be a means of reaching out to local communities and experiences. Recent projects like the Michelin Guidebook 2019 will be used to promote Thailand as a gastronomic destination, with a second book expected to be launched this November.
Future activities will follow the Michelin Food Festival 2018, the first of its kind for high-end street food of Thailand, featuring chefs from Bib Gourmand Michelin-star restaurants. This project will be targetted at foodies and family travellers, both Thai and foreigners.
Apps such as Knowing Thai will be used to attract the “gurus” who can act as storytellers on Thai society, religion, history, culture and food, enhancing Thailand’s brand value through content marketing.
TAT will step up environmental consciousness by organising more clean-up projects to tackle the growing volume of tourism-generated waste. Next year, it will give more importance to corporate social responsibility by merging environmental consciousness into its working system both within and outside the organisation.
As well, TAT has set a target of revenue increase of 12 per cent for international markets and 10 per cent for the domestic market.
TAT will promote Thailand as a weekend destination in shorthaul markets, leveraging the Amazing Thailand: Open to the New Shades campaign by presenting The Millions of Hidden Shades.
The domestic market, meanwhile, will be targeted with the Amazing Thai Thè (Thè: Coolness) campaign. This will involve using a “local hero”, a representative of the local community who can act as a “champion” and communicate stories of local culture, wisdom and the way of life to tourists.