Thailand maintains drive for quality tourism despite global headwinds

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn speaking at the TATP20 event

Thailand is training its sights on attracting quality tourists including first-time travellers and FITs to the country, as the country continues its quest to shift its widely perceived image from that of mass to responsible tourism.

On Monday evening, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) officially announced its action plan for 2020, which will run from October this year to end of August 2020.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn speaking at the TATP20 event

While tourism would remain a key sector in driving the Thai economy, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn sees a need for stronger strategies to penetrate the high-spending segment and responsible tourists. “TAT will focus on the quality of visitors rather than the numbers,” Yuthasak said.

A key part of the new strategies outlined involves placing a strong focus on the “more local, go quality” approach in the coming year, which will see TAT showcasing new or unexpected experiences especially in second-tier destinations.

In the pipeline is a global campaign called Amazing Thailand Week. TAT will work with airlines and alliances to roll out attractive packages beckoning visitors from around the world into the country.

Meanwhile, Srisuda Wanapinyosak, deputy governor for international marketing Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, also painted a tourism picture that is currently challenged by many pain points and difficulties, including the global economic recession, ongoing trade war between the US-China, a longer summer period in Western countries due to global warming that may see fewer European tourists visiting and staying in Thailand, appreciation of Thai baht, among others.

“TAT will have to overcome these factors in a bid to remain Thailand in global travel map,” Srisuda remarked.

To meet its goals, TAT has outlined different strategies to penetrate each region differently based on their markets conditions. For instance, efforts targeting the US market will be focused on first-time visitors and the young generation, while in Europe and the Middle East market the focus will be placed on attracting new segments. In addition, LGBT and DINK (Double Income with No Kid) travellers will make up main target segments from Latin America.

In the region, focus will be placed on high-spending markets such as Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and India, revealed Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor for international marketing Asia and South Pacific.

The Thai NTO is also preparing to launch a major campaign targeting China in a bid to boost arrivals from the country’s largest visitor source market. The China market is being pushed through current exemption of visa on arrival fee through the second half this year.

In addition, Thailand hopes to lure young and FIT travellers not only from mature markets but from every potential market. TAT will be working with OTAs to promote Thailand brand and local offers.

“Currently, 70-75 per cent tourists to Thailand are FITs. But FITs from some countries such as China account for only 40 per cent so Chinese FITs are one main target,” Chattan said.

As well, TAT has adjusted its earlier 2020 forecast of 41.3 million international visitors down to 40.2 million, and tourism receipts of 2.2 trillion baht (US$71.3 billion).

For the domestic market, TAT is set to ran a campaign called “60 Happiness Routes @ Thailand the Series” as part of its 60th anniversary. The domestic tourism is expected to generate income of 1.1 trillion baht this year.

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