Niche tourism takes centrestage in Thailand

THAILAND has heightened its focus on promoting its niche tourism offerings in view of dampened demand from longhaul markets affected by the global economic slowdown.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor, Suraphon Svetasreni, said: “ This year, TAT is refocusing our strategies to attract a greater number of niche-market visitors seeking holidays and experiences more in tune with their personal preferences and lifestyles. Four of the key niche markets that offer considerable potential are golf, weddings & honeymoons, ecotourism, and health & wellness.”

“The weddings and honeymoons category alone offers tremendous opportunities for Thai tourism operators – at present, India, South Korea, Japan, France, the US and the UAE are rapidly-growing source markets for those who want to get married or celebrate their union in Thailand.”

Suraphon added: “Niche markets are the way of the future. They provide many new opportunities for doing business with the growing number of specialist travel (consultants), while also feeding business to the increasing number of Thai product suppliers in each of these niche markets.”

Andrew Jacka, director, Spa Origins and president, Thai Spa Association, said: “Thailand, with its traditionally strong family units and long history of nurturing and caring, is well suited to be a player in the health and wellness industry.”

“The country offers both preventive and curative therapies and treatments; and when all is said and done, Thailand is the perfect place for post-treatment convalescence and recovery.”

Chananya Phataraprasit, executive director of Asian Oasis, a lodging and cruise operator in Thailand and Laos, said: “Ecotourism opens up a whole new dimension of possibilities for tourists looking for something really different from their trip to Thailand.”

“These possibilities include getting closer to nature and the local environment, first-hand cultural experiences, deepening their understanding of Thai communities, or actually working to give something back to the communities they visit.”

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