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New Thailand tourism plan promises quality not quantity

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New Thailand tourism plan promises quality not quantity TravelNews


Traveltalk’s JON UNDERWOOD reports from the 2018 ASEAN Tourism Forum in Thailand.

THAILAND HAS unveiled bold new marketing campaigns in a bid to maintain the country’s place as one of the tourism powerhouses of the world.

The country welcomed more than 35 million visitors last year, generating international tourism income of more than $US53 billion.

“It is a truly remarkable achievement that all members of the Thai tourism industry can take pride in,” said Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Mr Petsuwan was speaking to journalists from 27 countries attending the 37th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Chiang Mai. It is the largest travel trade event of the ASEAN region, which is rotated annually among the 10 member countries.

For 2018, TAT has set a growth target of eight percent in tourism revenue from the international market. The country’s new marketing plans have been designed to not only generate this additional revenue, but to promote new ideas and follow the development agenda of ‘Thailand 4.0’ using a ‘Sufficiency Economy Philosophy’.

“Diversity is the key, but with quality over quantity,” added Mr Petsuwan, promising tourism in Thailand would maintain a balance between economy, society and the environment. He said TAT would be targeting all sectors of the tourism industry, including senior citizens, weddings and luxury, but particularly millennials.

Among the new initiatives for 2018 is ‘Open to the New Shades’, a marketing campaign designed to highlight the unique characteristics of the Thai people. It is designed to encourage visitors to discover new perspectives in existing attractions, or indulge in experiences in new areas.

With sub themes including Gastronomy, Nature and Beach, Arts and Crafts, Culture, and Way of Life, It is hoped this campaign will also see tourists spreading out into the whole country, rather than just the current top five destinations of Bangkok, Phuket, Chonburi, Krabi and Surat Thani.

“Our aim is to increase the number of tourists in second tier provinces to not less than 10 million visitors and create income of not less than $US300 million,” said Mr Petsuwan.

To encourage visitation across Thailand, TAT has also launched a new ‘Experience Thailand and More’ pocketbook, focusing on four key experiences that enhance its ASEAN connectivity initiative with new destination combinations.


These routes include:

# ’A Journey to ASEAN Ancient Kingdom’ designed to promote Northern Thailand as a link to the historic trails in the north of ASEAN.

# ‘ASEAN Peranakan and Nature Trail’ linking the Andaman coastal cities while highlighting Phuket’s distinctive Peranakan culture and distinctive gastronomic scene.

# ‘Mekong Active Adventure Trail’, which combines the north east with Cambodia. The trail showcases Buri Ram as the sports city and is ideal for travellers who love combining sports with adventure travel experiences.

4. ‘ASEAN World-Class Culinary and Heritage Cities’ highlights culinary travel experiences in major and unique cities of the Central Region provinces in Thailand, along with those in Malaysia and Singapore. The route focuses on food culture, local cuisine, world-class restaurants and top things to do in the featured cities with Bangkok as the world’s gastronomic hub.

“TAT will use tourism to promote sustainable development with the community as the ultimate beneficiary. We believe this will pave the way for Thailand to be a preferred destination among international visitors,” said Mr Petsuwan.

It is the sixth time Thailand has hosted AFT, the only annual opportunity for public and private sectors in the region to come together and discuss issues and trends facing the ASEAN tourism industry.

Some 275 sellers were in attendance with 323 booths set up at the impressive Chiang Mai Exhibition and Conference Centre. The number of buyers totalled 240, with just over 25 per cent coming from the ASEAN region, 47 per cent from Europe and 16 per cent from the Americas.

Alongside the travel trade show, known as Travex, the individual NTO’s from all the member countries delivered detailed media briefings on their tourism aims and ambitions going forward.

The week-long event also includes meetings of the ASEAN tourism ministers and national tourism organisations, private sector groupings representing ASEAN hotels, restaurants, travel agents, tour operators and airlines. The theme this year is “ASEAN-Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity”.

 
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