Thailand rethinks its value strategy for 2017

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn speaking at the event

THAILAND wants to change its tourism marketing position from a value-for-money destination to a value-for-experience destination as the country seeks to become a quality leisure destination, announced Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Yuthasak Supasorn at a market briefing yesterday to unveil its marketing directions in 2017.

The new strategic policy is designed to bring tourism, now recognised by the country’s leaders and policymakers as of one of Thailand’s most successful economic pillars, in line with the 20-year reform programme Thailand 4.0 that is being charted by the government under prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

“We will still promote Thainess but through deeper, more nuanced ways, using unique local experience as a selling point,” said Yuthasak. Such experiences are not just restricted to community-based or rural experiences but will draw on the strengths or identity of a destination, he elaborated.

Even big cities like Bangkok have unique local experiences to offer, the governor added, citing the Wat Traimit enclave in the capital’s Yaowarat district as a hidden repository of Chinese culture and lifestyle.

Both Yuthasak as well as minister of tourism and sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, who was also present at the media briefing, acknowledge that it will no longer be a numbers game for Thailand under the new strategic policy. Instead, emphasis will be given to driving traveller expenditure through longer length of stay of visitors and better quality of traveller experience.

In 2017, TAT aims to raise revenue earnings from domestic and international visitors by 10 per cent to 950 billion baht (US$27 billion) and 1.9 trillion baht respectively.

As well, Yuthasak wants to encourage Thais across all sectors of the society to travel more extensively in the country to drive domestic tourism.

“This will enable Thais to see the value of tourism and foster a stronger sense of belonging, thus leading to stronger foundation for the development of unique local experiences,” he said.

“We want to ensure that Thailand is seen as a preferred destination in the minds of international visitors. At the same time, visitor arrivals will have to be managed by greater focus on sustainability and management of the natural resources.”

TAT will also develop a broad range of marketing communications materials aligned with the objectives to give greater prominence to the unique local experiences of Thailand on the world stage. At the same time, the Amazing Thailand slogan will remain in place, supported by Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand narratives.

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