Thai hoteliers embrace TAT’s forthcoming expat focus

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) recent announcement on the pivot towards offering benefits to expatriates in its 2024 strategy has garnered positive responses from leading hoteliers in the country.

Thailand, known for its cultural richness and scenic beauty, has attracted 156,596 expatriates in 1Q2023 alone, reported the Bangkok Post.

The Standard Hua Hin hosted the Kolour Hua Hin 2023 music festival in August as a way to attract the expatriate crowd and entertain long-stay visitors 

TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool in late September announced plans to organise promotional campaigns for expatriates, such as reduced entrance fees to national parks and attractions – an idea which has long been championed within the local expat community.

As the lines between leisure and business travel blur, the hospitality sector is presented with unprecedented opportunities.

“We are confident in TAT’s 2024 strategy,” stated Jakob Helgen, area vice president, Marriott International – Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia & Myanmar.

He elaborated: “The strategy takes advantage of the rising trend of digital nomads and remote workers, which will strategically position Thailand for a bright future. We are also pleased with TAT’s focus on sustainable tourism and quality over quantity, which are in line with Marriott’s focus on positively impacting the environment and communities where we operate.”

Marriott Executive Apartments, the group’s extended-stay concept, has several locations in Bangkok, with three more set to launch next year.

Boripat Louichareon, managing director of Standard Asia, echoes these sentiments.

“Thailand has long been a popular destination for tourists seeking both short-term holiday breaks and now catering for long-term stays. The rise of bleisure travel – where business meets leisure – fits right into this trend,” Boripat said. “We wholeheartedly welcome this rising trend led by the TAT. Bleisure travellers typically stay longer in a destination, extending nights at hotels and boosting revenue, empowering hotels to maintain higher occupancy rates.”

In the bigger picture, Boripat believes this strategy will greatly benefit Thailand’s tourism.

“Increasing the average length of stay and expanding the international reach can have substantial benefits not only for the tourism industry but also for the entire country’s economic growth,” he said.

Both hotel groups offer perks to long-stay visitors.

The Standard has also focused on weekly programming – such as local festivals and art events – to draw the expatriate crowd and entertain long-stay visitors. The Standard Bangkok hosted the popular Hotel Art Fair in November 2022, while The Standard Hua Hin hosted the Kolour Hua Hin 2023 music festival in August.

Marriott’s Helgen also expressed enthusiasm for initiatives that bolster the essence and value of tourism in Thailand.

“Looking ahead, as the boundaries blur between business and leisure, we envisage considerable opportunities in the extended-stay sector,” he concluded.

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