With one of the world’s strongest tourist industries, Thailand is now working to build on its international reputation, developing high-earning segments and broadening its market reach. The country is aiming to generate a record $63.9billion in revenue from foreign and domestic tourists in 2014, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The government has set a target of attracting more than 28 million foreign visitors in 2014, up 7% on the projection for 2013.
With one of the world’s strongest tourist industries, Thailand is now working to build on its international reputation, developing high-earning segments and broadening its market reach.
The country is aiming to generate a record $63.9billion in revenue from foreign and domestic tourists in 2014, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The government has set a target of attracting more than 28 million foreign visitors in 2014, up 7% on the projection for 2013.
TAT has launched a new marketing strategy for the country, focused on driving the tourism sector up the value chain and boosting revenues as much as attracting greater volumes of visitors. There will be a renewed emphasis on Thai culture and selling the country as a quality destination. The core theme of the 2014 strategy has been dubbed “Higher Revenue through Thainess”.
Priorities include greater diversification of source markets; broadening the range of destinations within the country to promote regional development and reduce congestion at popular sites; better regional connectivity; bringing in more visitors during the low season; and a focus on niches such as medical tourism to mitigate the impact of higher numbers of arrivals.
TAT is aiming to increase the proportion of visitors in the $20,000-to-$60,000 income range from 30% to 40% in 2014. To this end, it is developing more luxury tourism products and working to bring in more middle-to-high income visitors from growing markets such as Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Gulf, as well as building on core markets in Western Europe.
The fastest-growing tourism markets for Thailand in 2014 will be China and Russia, with substantial populations that are increasingly keen to travel abroad. Most visitors from these countries tend to be in the low-to-medium-income tourism segments, and that to boost arrival numbers and earnings; Thailand needs to start attracting more well off tourists from top emerging markets.
To boost the Chinese market, TAT will open its fifth office in China in Guangzhou (Canton) by the end of the year, to cover South China. The first four offices are in Beijing, Kunming, Shanghai and Chengdu. TAT expects the number of Chinese tourist arrivals to Thailand to reach 5.4million in 2014, compared to the projected 4million for 2013.China is now the world’s largest outbound tourism market, and Chinese citizens take more than 83 million overseas trips a year, according to the Beijing-based China Tourism Academy.
The number of Chinese visitors to Thailand soared by a remarkable 93% to 1.12 million in the first quarter of 2013.Thailand’s relatively low prices appeal to Chinese and Russian visitors. TAT expects 1.9 miliion Russian visitors in 2014 and is aiming to attract more Russian medical travellers.
Thailand is in the fortunate position of already having a large and flourishing tourism industry and a strong profile in many important markets. But achieving the ambitious targets for 2014 involves not just clever marketing, but real investment in tourism infrastructure, from hotels to airports, to ensure that the country’s projected image as a quality destination is matched by reality.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched a series of videos, digital brochures, and PowerPoint presentations to promote medical tourism; including:
•Global accreditation ensures quality healthcare in Thailand
•Holistic anti-aging treatments abound in Thailand
•Rejuvenate in style at a Thai destination spa
•Thailand crowned leader of global dental tourism
•Treat yourself and your skin to a holiday in Thailand
•Wellness spa seekers find natural home in Thailand
•Nine reasons to make Thailand your medical tourism destination
•Treat yourself to fabulous health in Thailand