Thailand: Tourism is Bright

By Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit,

BANGKOK, 5 June 2015: Tourism Authority of Thailand is confident that tourism will set new records this year making it possible to hit 28 million tourists and USD42 milion or THB1.14 trillion, up from 24.7 million in 2014.

TAT acting governor, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, was commenting on the state of tourism on the opening day of the TTM B2B show that is now in is 14th consecutive year.

“The event has been buoyed by a remarkable revival in visitor arrivals, proving the success of the intensive recovery campaigns mounted after the political unrest of 2014 as well as the high-profile “2015 Discover Thainess” global marketing campaign that is now under way.”

She told a media briefing TTM broke all records with 374 sellers from Thailand and the Mekong countries and 323 buyers from 50 countries. These numbers are expected to increase further after the last-minute registrations that occurred on Thursday.

inside no 1According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the preliminary figure of Thailand’s tourist arrivals from January to 25 May, 2015, touched 11.95 million (+19%), with a revenue of THB578 billion.

For January to March 2015, visitors from North East Asia totalled 3.07 million (+70%), ASEAN 1.86 million (+37%), the Americas 340,060 (+6.5%), South Asia 309,197 (+16.5%), and Middle East 154,656 (+26%).

Key European markets reported growth such as like Spain (+17%), Italy (+13%), Germany, and France (+7%), and UK (+2%).

In the first quarter of 2015, the top five source markets were China with 2.03 million visitors (+96%), Malaysia with around 890,000 visitors (+71%), South Korea with 370,000 visitors (+19%), Japan with 360,000 visitors (+17%), and Russia with 320,000 visitors (-53.77%).

Russia was one of the few markets that suffered a massive decline.

In 2015, TAT has set a  target of 28 million visitors, generating around USD42 billion (THB1.4 trillion) in revenue. Last year, the kingdom attracted 24.7 million visits circulating THB1.14 trillion.

But the country has some catching up to do, first to pass  the 2013 tourist arrivals peak of 26.55 million visits before it can really talk about successful recovery. However at the present performance level it is likely the 26.55 peak of 2013 will be passed by October.

China is key to recovery and this is reflected at the TTM. China had the largest delegation of buyers (42) followed by United Kingdom (29), Australia (20), India (18), the United States and South Africa (15). A group of smaller but high-quality buyers were invited from emerging markets such as, Bahrain, Belarus, and Bulgaria. Of these 44.89% or 178 are repeat and 145 are first-time buyers.

Amongst the sellers, 21% or 80 organisations were  first timers to give maximum opportunity for an emerging range  new products and services.

For the first time at TTM, TAT organised a “Muslim Friendly Destination Mega FAM Trip” by inviting about 100 travel agents and media from Islamic countries to the show.

TAT will also launch the “Thailand Muslim Friendly Destination” mobile apps (Ios and android) and a mini website of tourism information for the Muslim market such as, Thailand’s halal restaurants and hotels. This app will be in both Thai and English with Arabic to be added later.

“There are dozens of Islamic restaurants all over Thailand, which have received the Halal Tourism Certificate,” the acting governor said.

Phuket is gearing up to be a Halal food centre. Muslims make up about 30% of Phuket’s population, It already welcomes around 100,000 Arab tourists each year.

TAT also forecasts that in the near future Thailand’s Andaman coast from Phuket south to Trang will become one of the top destinations for Arab visitors due to the high density of Muslim villages. The availability of Halal food restaurants at resorts such as Krabi, Lanta Island and Trang will certainly be a key factor.

To prepare for the ASEAN integrated community in 2015, the TAT is launching is a campaign called ASEAN Connect Tourism. This will feature a suggested tour itinerary “connecting” Thailand Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.