The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced its plans for the UK travel market at a press conference at WTM 2023 in London today.
Addressing a packed room of journalists and exhibitors, TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool – joined on stage by the minister of tourism and sports, Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol – laid out its strategy to attract more British and European travellers, a group that stays longer, spends more and explores further than other source markets.
For the UK market, TAT will lean hard into developing its profile as a luxury destination that prioritises modern trends, including wellness, sustainable travel and environmental responsibility at the heart of its new Meaningful Relationship campaign.
Thapanee said: “The new Meaningful Relationship marketing communication concept is designed to encourage travellers to engage in a meaningful connection, whether it is with themselves, the local people, the community, nature, or even with Thailand. When travellers form a relationship with the people they meet and the place they visit, they will have an opportunity to create lifelong friends, cherished recollections, and an enjoyable time.”
From January 1 to October 31 this year, Thailand recorded over 21.6 million arrivals and generated over US$25.54 billion. The top five markets are Malaysia (3,342,819), China (2,778,595), South Korea (1,313,781), India (1,283,340), and Russia (1,097,361), while the UK market contributed 617,017 tourists.
By the end of 2023, TAT expects to see around 80 per cent of the overall tourism revenue generated in 2019, or US$65.53 billion. This includes tourism revenue of US$41.30 billion from around 25-30 million arrivals. From the UK market, the expectation is 795,214 tourists and revenue of US$1.7 billion.
After cutting the red tape and the costs of long-term visas for Chinese, Russian and Indian travellers this year, Thai stakeholders have urged the government to roll out similar enticements to British and European tourists.
When asked if there were plans to ease guidelines on long-term stays for Europeans, Thapanee replied that TAT was in discussion with the new prime minister Srettha Thavisin’s administration to find areas where they could remove red tape and make long-term trips simpler and with less financial burden.