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Thailand looks at flirting with the 20-million travelers’ mark in 2012

Luc Citrinot, eTN  Jul 13, 2011

BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) - As Thailand seems to head, for the time being, for a renewed period of political stability, the Tourism Authority of Thailand recently released its strategic plan with ambitious targets. At the TAT Annual Marketing Action Plan, the Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor, Suraphon Svestasreni, highlighted a target of 19.5 million international travelers at the end of 2012 - approximately 3 million more than last year. This would represent a growth of almost 20% compared to 2010. Total income from tourism should then reach US$24.85 million. Domestic tourism will also grow from over 80 to 93 million trips during the same period of time, up by over 16%. It would then generate some THB 453 billion, the equivalent of US$14.5 billion.

The Marketing Action Plan wants to stimulate growth by taking into consideration all the rapid changes, which occurred over the last few years, such as new emerging markets, social media, technology-driven consumption, as well as worldwide increasing demand for sustainable and environment-friendly holiday products.

According to Suraphon Svetasreni: “Responding to constant and incessant change has become our biggest challenge. As the country’s primary tourism marketing agency responsible for driving growth in one of Thailand’s most important socio-economic sectors, we spent the entire meeting trying to identify ways of ensuring an effective and efficient marketing plan.”

Although some voices in the travel industry ask to look for a new slogan after years of using in all aspects the “Amazing Thailand” tagline, TAT believes that the well-known sentence will continue to catch travelers’ attention. In 2012, the “Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You” theme will then reinforce the strong brand and position of the kingdom. New dimensions to the thematic will, however, be added, such as emphasizing the “Thainess” of the country through its traditions and its famous sense of welcome.

Six strategies will be consequently implemented. It includes the need for a more balanced tourism in various dimensions; a sustainable growth for tourism income; the need to strengthen and sharpen Thailand's brand image; the development of tourism in line with a creative economy; the development of stronger and more effective partnership networks; and finally, the optimization of internal management.

Among markets being targeted, TAT wants to focus on high-income markets, niche travelers (honeymooners or medical and health visitors), repeat travelers, as well as focusing on emerging incoming markets such as Asian females, US and European seniors, or emerging countries such as Brazil, Argentina, or Indonesia. On the domestic front, TAT wants to promote more sustainable tourism with its new campaign “New Heart for a Sustainable Thailand.” The TAT hopes to shift the perception of Thai travelers and tourism owners and operators alike to a new awareness that will lead to sustainable tourism. The core tourism values that TAT aims to build are to get domestic travelers to better appreciate Thailand’s culture, environment, and heritage.

TAT wants also to highlight “edutourism” with a focus to let travelers experience more about Thailand’s historical, social, and environmental dimension. Promotion will include, for example, the rediscovery of Ayutthaya kingdom, mangrove forests in Chanthaburi province, prehistoric spots in Kalasin and Khon Kaen provinces, and the “International Candle Festival” in Ubon Ratchathani.

Thailand looks at flirting with the 20-million travelers’ mark in 2012
A serene sustainable Thailand facing the perspective of 20 million travelers / Photo by L. Citrinot

Source: TAT International Public Relations Division

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