Travelbiz E-Zine
9
November
2023

Travelbiz Meets Tourism Thailand

#Traveltradetogether

Travelbiz Meets Tourism Thailand

Discussing recent arrival statistics to Thailand, the news is very positive. The Irish market has bounced back very fast and TAT are very happy with how many Irish visitors they’ve welcomed post-pandemic, it is testament to how much Irish travellers love Thailand. From January to 5th November this year Thailand has welcomed 53,000 Irish tourists, over 80% of pre-pandemic (2019) numbers and on trend to achieve that and more in 2024.

In a recent interview at WTM 2023, the newly appointed TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Mr. Nithee Seeprae, shared his vision and strategies for reinvigorating Thailand as a premier tourist destination.

He outlined the short-term and long-term marketing objectives in line with the TAT Corporate Plan 2023-2027. In the short term, the focus is on shifting towards value-based tourism to match emerging global demand and attract high-value tourists. In the long term, Thailand aims to become internationally renowned as a responsible tourism destination.

TAT’s approach centres on creating ‘meaningful relationships’, experiential travel, sustainability, and strengthening international partnerships.

On the launch of the new ‘Meaningful Relationship’ marketing campaign, exclusively at WTM 2023, he explained: “the concept is designed to encourage travellers to engage in a meaningful connection whether it is with themselves, the local people, the community, nature, or even with Thailand. When travellers form a relationship with the people they meet and the place they visit, they will have an opportunity of creating lifelong friends, cherished recollections, and an enjoyable time.”

The new marketing concept will be incorporated into TAT’s ongoing promotion of Thailand as a sustainable and responsible tourism.

He also shared with me TAT Governor’s PASS strategy which includes 4 key elements:

P: Partnership 360 – TAT aims to foster collaboration across the travel and tourism industry by working closely with various partners, both within and outside the tourism sector

A: Accelerate Access to Digital World – Leveraging innovation and technology, TAT plans to use new technologies to inspire travellers, share more digital content and work with virtual influencers, to attract Generation Z and Y travellers to Thailand.

S: Sub-culture Movement – Recognizing the influence of subcultural groups, TAT will target specific segments and quality markets to capitalise on their potential as tourism trendsetters.

S: Sustainably Now – Sustainability is at the core of TAT’s strategy. They have developed the Sustainable Tourism Goals (STGs) concept, inspired by the United Nations Development Programme’s Sustainable Development Goals. This concept includes a STAR (Sustainable Tourism Acceleration Rating) system to certify tourism businesses’ sustainability efforts. Over 300 Thai tourism businesses are already registered and working towards achieving their STAR rating.

Sustainability is a fundamental principle for TAT, highlighted through their ‘7 Greens’ concept, which encompasses various aspects of environmental and social responsibility. It involves efforts to distribute tourism income to local communities and promote a circular economy through collaborations like the Thai Organic Consumer Association (TOCA) and Thailand Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA) who have just launched a range of new tours that are low or no carbon routes incorporating activities and experiences with minimal impact on the environment and a  positive impact for local communities and their economy by involving local businesses, guides and artisans.

Discussing recent arrival statistics to Thailand, the news is very positive. The Irish market has bounced back very fast and TAT are very happy with how many Irish visitors they’ve welcomed post-pandemic, it is testament to how much Irish travellers love Thailand. From January to 5th November this year Thailand has welcomed 53,000 Irish tourists, over 80% of pre-pandemic (2019) numbers and on trend to achieve that and more in 2024.

As well as welcoming back travellers, TAT is also keen to extend tourists’ length of stay in Thailand. Targeting quality travellers is a top priority and this will be achieved by offering valuable experiences, new tourism products, and encouraging exploration of various parts of Thailand. A ‘secondary cities’ campaign and ‘hub and hook’ concept as promoted by the TAT UK & Ireland team, sees TAT highlighting lesser known destinations and encouraging travellers to visit hidden gems.

Repeat traveller numbers are still very high and so TAT wants to keep them inspired and engaged by encouraging them to experience new parts of the Kingdom. An example Mr. Seeprae gave was for the north of Thailand – Chiang Mai and even Chiang Rai are well known but within a few hours of these iconic cities are wonderful towns and rural communities such as Nan, Phrae, Phayao, Lamphun and Lampang each with their own unique culture and traditions.

TAT will also promote Thailand through its 5F soft powers: Food, Festival, Film, Fight, and Fashion which is also integrated into the ‘Meaningful Relationship’ campaign.

Thailand is an ever evolving destination and as well as the host of exciting new hotel openings scheduled for Q4 2023 and 2024, including some of the industry’s biggest hotel brand names, Mr. Seeprae also shared with me wider plans for the country. There are various new infrastructure developments in progress designed to accommodate increased tourist numbers and enhance traveller safety. Notable projects include the expansion of Suvarnabhumi Airport’s capacity, improvements to Phuket International Airport, and the construction of a new airport in Phang-nga province. Chiang Mai International Airport is extending its operation hours to accommodate the high season’s rising demand, especially for flights from Europe.

Finally, TAT is eager as always to collaborate with partners to reinforce Thailand’s status as a top travel destination and drive visitation. Through joint marketing efforts and agent training, TAT remains committed to the Irish market and various trade activities to support operators and travel agents. Mr. Seeprae concluded his chat with me praising Irish travel agents for their commitment to Thailand, joining TAT training events and roadshows, and continually selling the destination, he said: “TAT couldn’t do it without agents support and dedication, so thank you.”

To keep up to date with Thailand’s latest news and updates join FanclubThailand on Facebook and Instagram and sign up to the Thailand Expert newsletter for useful news, destination guides and itinerary ideas https://www.thailandexpert.co.uk/

 

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