Focus on untapped segments, Thailand told

DESPITE the recent rebound in visitor numbers, Thailand still needs to ramp up its destination marketing efforts to attract untapped segments, according to some buyers who attended last week’s Thailand Travel Market Plus 2011 in Bangkok.

Sao Paulo-based Raidho director, Lucila Nedelciu, said demand from the Brazil market for Thailand, which grew by 25 per cent last year, looked set to grow by another 20 to 25 per cent this year.

“Thailand needs more destination marketing to create recognition as the outbound Brazilian market grows,” she said.

Nedelciu added that the potential of Brazil’s middle class was huge. Now constituting about 13 million of the country’s population of 108 million, the middle class have begun to look beyond neighbouring countries to longhual destinations for leisure travel as their income improves.

Paris-based HotelRooms Inc vice president of sales & marketing-EMEA & Asia, Khalil Masri, said Thailand should employ more online marketing efforts focusing on the uniqueness of Thai culture.

“There are many (similar) destinations that have beaches and palm trees. Thailand needs to give a reason why travellers should visit its seaside resorts,” he said.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s deputy governor for marketing communications, Prakit Piriyakiet, said the NTO was focusing on promoting and marketing key destinations that were equipped with conveniences, and would leverage on the influx of tourists to these popular areas to spill demand over to nearby destinations.

Prakit cited the success of Hua Hin where tourists were spilling over to nearby Pranburi and beyond.

Stockholm-based Noble Travel travel manager, Henrik Husgafvel, remained unconvinced. He said new and upcoming Thai destinations needed to increase their marketing efforts to attract repeat visitors.

By Sirima Eamtako

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