Thailand is working out a strategy for capturing more tourists from middle-end and high-end markets to achieve its tourism revenue target of two trillion baht by 2015.
According to the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, the strategy seeks to increase tourism income to 1.4 trillion baht from the domestic market and 550 billion baht from the international market.
He stated that an emphasis would be placed on attracting high potential markets, such as Russia, China, the Republic of Korea, and Australia, while maintaining such traditional markets as Malaysia, Japan, and the United States.
Mr. Suraphon said that new products and services will be launched to attract more visitors from niche markets, particularly golfers, newly-weds, and shoppers. As for the domestic market, Thai people will be encouraged to travel in the country for more than three times a year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand will focus on creating various tourism activities all year round in all regional areas of the country.
In a workshop held at Government House on 9 July 2012, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra assigned relevant agencies to work out a monthly action plan to promote tourism. The workshop came up with six issues to be emphasized in order to achieve the tourism revenue target of two trillion baht by 2015.
They include promotional campaigns in both domestic and international markets, the development of tourism sites and investment in new tourist attractions, logistics development to accommodate the growing tourism industry, the building of confidence in tourism, tourism facilitation, and the improvement of tourism products and services.
Tourism continues to play a crucial role in Thailand’s socio-economic development, accounting for about 7 percent of GDP. It is a major source of foreign exchange, investment, employment generation, wages, and government revenue.
International tourist arrivals totaled 15.9 million in 2010. A total of 51.2 percent of tourists were from East Asia, mainly from Malaysia and China, followed by Europe at 27.8 percent; South Asia, 6.2 percent; the Americas, 5.3 percent; Oceania, 4.9 percent; and the Middle East, 3.5 percent.
The main objective of the National Tourism Development Plan, 2012-2016, approved in February 2011, is to place Thailand among the top five destinations in Asia. Toward this aim, Thailand will enhance the international competitiveness of its tourism industry, thus generating more income and distributing wealth on a sustainable basis. The plan also seeks to increase tourism income by at least 5 percent in five years’ time.
In recent years, the Tourism authority of Thailand has actively promoted Thailand as a high-quality destination, targeting new markets and offering new niche products, such as health and medical tourism, agro-tourism, Thai cookery courses, and international conventions and exhibitions.