ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thailand seeks more ‘quality-tourism targets’
THE Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced plans to boost cross-border tourism and promote more niche markets in a bid to increase the number of “quality” tourists entering the country.
Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of TAT, said the agency would increase tourism revenue and promote travel options by combining Thailand’s top destinations with neighbouring countries.
As such, he said TAT would take its premier travel trade show, “Thailand Travel Mart” in June, to the northern city of Chiang Mai and open the event to ASEAN members in support of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Up until this year, the country’s trade event has been held in Bangkok.
“We will emphasise connectivity with Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam,” he said.
Overland trips will be promoted under the tagline “Crossing 2 Checkpoints, Travelling in 2 Countries” by initially combining historical attractions in Thailand and Cambodia. The initiative has identified attraction such as the Phanom Rung Historical Park in Buri Ram, the Village of Elephants and the Ban Tha Sawang Silk-weaving Village in Surin. Other identified attractions include Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei/Bayon and Ta Prohm in Cambodia, and Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew and Pha Mo E Dang in Thailand's Si Sa Ket province.
Yuthasak said cross-boarder tour programmes had been designed in a way that allowed visitors to use new cross-border highways and international border checkpoints.
Addressing the media attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum on Saturday, Yuthasak said TAT would strengthen niche tourism this year, particularly the weddings and honeymoon market in Asia, and promote green tourism to a global audience.
“This year we will focus less on visitor arrivals and more on achieving quality-tourism targets,” he explained.
TAT’s marking strategy for international markets will position the Kingdom as a quality leisure destination by promoting “Thainess”, he added.
He defined quality tourism as being measured by visitor expenditure, average length of stay and the overall delivery of a valuable visitor experience.
Yuthasak said Thailand had much potential and variety in terms of upscale products and services to accommodate high-end tourists in all dimensions, including the stylish boutiques and beachfront pool villas in Phuket and Koh Samui.
He said that offered an unrivalled holiday experience, while many fine-dining restaurants had been honoured with global awards such as those by Gaggan and Nahm.
Bangkok is also blessed with numerous high-class department stores like Central Embassy and EmQuartier with countless brand-name flagship stores, he said.
For luxury travel, there are well-equipped yachts in Phuket and Pattaya that accommodate those in need of something classy for island-hopping.
Thailand welcomes an average of about 100,000 cruise passengers per year.
But it is projecting more arrivals after the completion of an upgraded cruise-ship port in Phuket this year.
New cruise ports are planned for Krabi, Koh Samui, and Surat Thani in southern Thailand.
A super-yacht show in Phuket will be launched next month, while foreign investors will be invited to build more super-yacht marinas.
Compared with 2015, when the country earned Bt2.23 trillion in tourism (Bt1.44 trillion in international tourism and Bt790 billion in domestic tourism), this year TAT is forecasting tourism revenue of Bt2.41 trillion, with Bt1.56 trillion from international tourism and Bt850 billion from the domestic market.
In a bid to lure more high-spending visitors, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, minister of tourism and sports, said: “TAT is rebranding the tourism logo to maintain awareness of the country and strengthen the country.Thailand and ASEAN are united and are going to drive forward together for quality.”
Despite wanting to boost the number high-spending tourists entering the country this year, Kobkarn has not yet agreed with an idea to waive the valued-added tax for tourists.
She said waiving the VAT needed further study and the decision must be reached carefully.
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