By Suchat Sritama
In a move to boost the economy, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) yesterday announced campaigns and marketing plans for next year with a revenue target of Bt2.2 trillion from local and international visitors.
TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik said the authority expected up to 28.9 million foreign visitors next year – increasing this year’s projection of about 26 million foreign tourists by 13 per cent – and hoped to boost this year’s target of foreign-exchange revenue by 15 per cent to Bt1.4 trillion.
TAT is also hoping to encourage 148 million trips by local travellers next year, which should generate up to Bt800 billion in revenue. Next year’s projection is increased by 9.5 per cent from this year’s.
TAT has also lined up action plans and strategies for local and international markets under the long-running “Amazing Thailand” campaign. The agency is also preparing new tourism products to attract foreigners, such as “Thainess” and the “Thai way of living”, in addition to promoting the country’s natural beauty.
Of the Bt1.4 trillion expected to be earned from foreign visitors, Bt747 billion or 53.3 per cent is expected to come from Asia, followed by Bt650 billion or 46.5 per cent from Europe and the rest from other markets, especially the United States.
TAT is also setting up strategies to draw big spenders from second-tier cities in Europe such as Stuttgart and Munich in Germany and smaller cities in France. It is also eyeing alternative countries such as Morocco, Brazil, Chile, Poland, Hungary, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
“TAT will hold roadshows in these countries and will work with airlines and hotels. Our targets are high-spending visitors such as honeymooners and health-conscious tourists,” Thawatchai said.
A charter airline will begin operating direct flights between Poland and Krabi in November, while flights from Scandinavia – which have been cut down in number – are expected to rebound this high season.
Anupharp Thirarath, deputy governor for TAT’s domestic market department, said the agency had prepared three action plans that will run all year.
The first campaign promotes attractions in new destinations, such as the timelessness of Lampang, the flowers of Phetchabun, Buri Ram’s ancient pagodas, the cool weather in Loei, Ratchaburi’s art, fruit in Chantaburi and Trang’s cuisine.
The second campaign focuses on flowers, encouraging people to visit different provinces in different months. This includes visiting Loei in January to enjoy the Thai sakura (cherry blossoms), going to Udon Thani in February to see the red lotus, dok khoon in Khon Kaen in April, dok po tieng in Songkhla in August and Christmas blossoms in Loei in December.
The third campaign will encourage local people to travel during the low season, and the target groups are families, business owners, seniors, young travellers, first jobbers and health-conscious people.
“TAT has asked celebrities Urassaya ‘Yaya’ Sperbund and Ananda Everingham to help run the campaigns,” Anupharp said.