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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Thailand: Big events to be the focus of TAT’s 2025 tourism strategy

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced strategies to attract 40 million foreign arrivals and generate 3.4 trillion baht in tourism revenue next year.

This move is in line with the government’s ambitious announcement to promote Thailand as a grand tourism destination, said TAT board chairwoman Natthriya Thaweevong.

The strategies include drawing big events to the country and offering tour packages designed to meet each traveller’s preferences, such as the elderly and medical tourists.

“Tourism is a main engine of the Thai economy, so it is hard work for TAT [to achieve the goal],” she said, adding that the PM is ready to support Thai tourism to the fullest.

She noted that tourists’ preferences have changed in the post-Covid-19 era, and it could take up to three years before Thailand could again rely on revenue from investment. “It will likely be a while before the export sector can fully recover, which is different from the tourism sector that can generate revenue for the country immediately,” she added.

Big events to attract 39 million visitors before end of 2024

Despite expectations that the global economy and tourism will recover next year, Natthriya affirmed that this year’s tourism revenue will reach 3 trillion baht as planned.

She said it would not be hard to generate an additional 500 billion baht in order to meet Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s goal, saying that this revenue will come from big events in the fourth quarter of this year.

“We could attract up to 39 million foreign arrivals in 2024 as TAT is currently in negotiations to increase flights to support travel demand,” she said.

However, she said this year’s domestic tourism is being pressured by overseas  competition to attract Thai travellers. Chinese tour operators were offering tour packages at cheap prices to attract Thai tourists, she added.

7.5-10% tourism revenue growth expected in 2025

TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said the authority aims to boost tourism revenue growth from 3 trillion baht this year to 3.4 trillion baht next year.

This goal can be achieved by attracting at least 40 million foreign arrivals to Thailand and encouraging 220 million Thai travellers to travel domestically, she said. She added that the authority has requested a 6.23 billion baht budget for fiscal year 2025, comprising 4.34 billion baht for organising projects and activities.

“Moreover, in 2025, TAT aims to enable secondary cities to generate revenue by 25 per cent year on year by attracting tourists with high spending to visit,” she said, adding that the authority also planned to promote Thailand among 14 countries that generate the highest revenue from foreign arrivals.

According to Thapanee, TAT will offer new tourism products and attractions to attract existing and new customers in Europe, US, Middle East and Africa, along with increasing flight capacity to support long-distance travellers.

The authority will attract travellers across Asia and South Pacific, such as China, India, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines. It also aims to draw short-distance travellers from neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to stimulate tourism in the long term.

For domestic tourism, TAT will launch campaigns to promote Thailand’s attractiveness throughout the year. “We believe that domestic tourism could maintain the economy amid various crises,” she said.

The authority also aims to be a leader in tourism communication by developing content to meet tourists’ preferences, especially younger generations.

Five challenges for tourism

Thapanee also outlined challenges to creating valuable tourism experiences and driving Thailand towards sustainability, namely

  • Climate change: Extreme weather affects designing and upgrading products and services to be environmentally friendly
  • Cost of living: The rising cost of living affects the tourism market, especially marketing to attract target tourists
  • Computer distortion: Distorting facts digitally and through technology is leading TAT to adopt artificial intelligence in tourism
  • Cartographic politics: Political polarisation and affiliations will affect the global tourism industry
  • Cyber hacking: Cyberattacks, such as hacking of agencies’ IT systems, will almost certainly continue.

“TAT needs to strengthen its marketing efforts to maintain its existing customer base, increase new customers, expand collaboration, and develop new marketing techniques because some people believe that Thailand focuses on attracting existing customers by sticking to the same old techniques to sell the country to the tourist market,” she added.

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