TAT to focus on niches

Earnings from foreign travellers remain a major source of income, estimated to contribute 1.46 trillion baht in revenue next year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Income from international tourism next year could expand 13% year-on-year to 966 billion baht with the balance coming from domestic travellers, a sector which will rise 6% in 20132.

This year, tourist arrivals are estimated at 20.5 million, accounting for 846 billion baht, a 7% and 9% rise, respectively, from 2011.

Starting next year, TAT offices worldwide will focus on penetrating niche markets and boost spending among foreign travellers to ensure revenue generated from the tourism sector would reach 2 trillion baht in the next three years, according to TAT governor Suraphon Svetaserani.

In 2013, the number of domestic trips will increase by 3% to 107.4 million trips and international tourist arrivals by 13% to 22 million visitors.

“Niche areas such as weddings, honeymoons, golf and medical tourism are hopeful markets while secondary cities will be potential markets to woo first-time visitors,” he said.

“We also have to pay greater attention to Asian market to offset a weaker Europe.”

Mr Suraphon said the Thainess that covers “Friendliness, Freedom and Fun” remains strong selling points and make Thailand different from other places.

But the TAT will try to upgrade the country as a value for money destination, rather than a cheap travel destination.

Despite the downturn in Europe, he said Germany, the UK and France remain key markets but it would expand Thai tourism business to secondary cities such as Manchester, Munich and Lille to boost the number of first-time visitors.

Additionally, potential markets such as Turkey, North Africa, CIS and Latin America are on TAT marketing plans.

“Roadshows to showcase Thailand’s advanced medical industry will be run in Middle East countries,” he said.

For domestic tourism, the TAT plans to increase the number of trips during weekdays through the “Use the Weekdays as Your Holiday” campaign.

The agency will team up with the private sector to offer incentives and discounts. Consumer fairs will be organised in Udon Thani, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Rayong, Songkhla and Bangkok.

The TAT has asked for 10 billion baht from the fiscal budget and another 3 billion baht for marketing campaigns to achieve the goal in the next three years.

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About the author

Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong
Position: Reporter

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