Japan and Middle East worries push Thailand to refocus

THE ASSOCIATION of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) plans to step up marketing efforts in other potential Asian countries as Thailand steels itself for a decline of some 300,000 visitors from Japan and the Middle East this year.

Newly-elected ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said that once his appointment becomes official – within the next 21 days – a series of strategies to drive tourism from Indonesia, India, China, Russia and other ASEAN countries would be launched.

Marketing activities such as roadshows and fam trips would be introduced in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and related Thai tourism associations, especially those under the umbrella of the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations, he added.

Both Sisdivachr and outgoing ATTA president Surapol Sritrakul shared concerns that the situation in Japan and the Middle East would cause a slowdown in visitor arrivals from both markets.

“I am also concerned about the inbound European market, where the economic situation remains weak,” said Sisdivachr.

Thailand expects to welcome around 16.5 to 16.7 million foreign visitors this year, up from 15.8 million last year.

By Sirima Eamtako

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