The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has downgraded its projections for international tourist arrivals, now down to 40.2 million from the 41.3 million forecast earlier, the Bangkok Post reported.
The agency has also trimmed its forecast revenue growth from tourism receipts, which include domestic travel, to 9.5 per cent from 10 per cent. This brings the expected revenue for the year to 3.38 trillion baht (US$110.6 billion), down slightly from the previous projection of 3.4 trillion.
TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn attributed the less optimistic projections to the global economic slowdown, the baht’s appreciation and soaring fuel prices disrupting travel plans, according to the Bangkok Post report.
For 2020, he is targeting a 10 per cent growth in tourism revenue, hopeful that the unfavourable conditions in 2019 will ease next year.
The target is achievable, he said, as TAT places greater focus on market segmentation and potential niche markets, especially lifestyle and health-oriented individual tourists who tend to spend more during trips.
The aim is to increase the portion of quality tourists who have income above US$60,000 a year to 20 per cent by 2021 from the current 13 per cent, the Bangkok Post article stated.
The Bangkok Post also quoted Tossaporn Sirisamphan, chairman of the TAT board, who stressed the importance of developing existing tourism destinations and new products.
There is a national plan to promote small provinces so tourism benefits could be better distributed to local communities in secondary destinations. The aim is to narrow the ratio of tourism receipts from major cities against second-tier provinces to 80:20 by 2022. The ratio was 87:13 last year.
Related projects include a plan for the Southern Economic Corridor that will create a strategic zone between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, especially Ranong province, where there is an eight-metre-deep seaport.
Another project is the development of the Thailand Riviera into a romantic coastline, a scheme already tabled for cabinet consideration.