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Thailand’s tourism authority wants higher-class visitors next year

July 3, 2013

Expanding middle- and upper-income tourism markets together with increasing the number of first-time foreign visitors are part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand‘s (TAT) plans next year.

The TAT will present its measures to achieve these goals to tourism operators next Monday.

The authority targets visitors with an average annual income of US$20,000 to $60,000, or 600,000 baht to 1.8 million baht.

It wants to increase the proportion of these travellers to 40% of foreign tourist arrivals in 2014, up from 30%.

At a brainstorming session yesterday, TAT governor Suraphon Svetasreni told officials this shift will help the industry achieve its 2 trillion baht revenue target by 2015.

The TAT also wants first-time visitors to increase from 30% to 40% of total arrivals, which are estimated at 24.5 million this year.

The government agency has been working on promoting second tourism provinces to ease crowding at major tourism destinations, said Mr Suraphon. Providing these new spots as connection points on tourism routes throughout Asean will help promote the region as one destination.

The TAT will conduct marketing research on travellers’ expenditures, their behaviours and trends, as well as analyse market competition.

TAT deputy governor Juthaporn Rerngronasa, who oversees the international market, said potential markets include Switzerland, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa, Qatar and Bahrain.

Strong existing markets remain crucial, she added, while listing Britain, Germany, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy and the United Arab Emirates as solid bases. Niche high-end markets such as honeymoons, weddings and medical tourism are another focus.

The World Travel Mart this November will see the TAT join hands with Hello magazine to launch a “Luxury Thailand” campaign introducing high-end tourism products via online recommendations from well-known international visitors (in English, Spanish and Russian).

For the Americas, the TAT continues to promote Thailand as a honeymoon destination through various media and activities as well as beauty pageants and TV locations.

Sansern Ngaorungsi, the TAT deputy governor for Asia and Asia-Pacific, said the number of Asian tourist arrivals accounted for 66% of the total, generating 55% of total revenue. The TAT needs to boost spending from this segment on higher-end products, he said.

Mr Sansern added that China is expected to issue regulation in October to curb unreasonable package tour pricing, such as the zero dollar bait-and-switch packages, and this will benefit the whole industry.

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