The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced plans to help Thai companies close deals with buyers at international trade fairs.
The agency will assign seven offices in Europe to invite tour operators specialising in niche markets such as medical and wellness, honeymoons, golf and eco-tourism to what it bills as its “tabletop sale”.
The sale will be held during trade shows, with participation by potential buyers and sellers.
However, Thai sellers will have to pay 5,000 baht to join in, said Juthaporn Rerngronasa, the TAT’s deputy governor overseeing marketing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.
“We want to give private operators a greater chance to secure business deals when they pay money to attend international travel fairs. This new strategy will allow small and medium-sized tour operators to see more sellers. We’ll start with ITB Berlin 2012.”
Besides the Berlin event, the TAT will this year hold roadshows and trade fairs at the East Mediterranean Tourism Travel Exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey and the International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid.
It promotes niche markets more aggressively via both online and traditional channels in a bid to retain key markets such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany.
But the TAT will also help to penetrate new markets such as Turkey, Poland, Israel, Latin America and Tunisia due to their healthy economies.
General elections in China, France, Russia and the US this year will make people in these countries delay their foreign travels, while continued global economic problems will also dent their spending.
“Thailand has the potential to capture more of the honeymoon market in the US and Latin America even though air ticket prices are high. But considering the affordability of accommodation, our prices remain competitive overall,” said Ms Juthaporn.
As well, the TAT will try to change Thailand’s image as a sex-tourist destination to a more family-oriented one.
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Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong