BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) – As the world is bracing with economic slowdown and high fuel prices, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) acknowledges that it will be increasingly to achieve its growth targets both in 2008 and 2009.
At a marketing conference hosted in July, TAT indicated to now forecast a growth of 5 percent in total tourist arrivals instead of 8 percent as predicted earlier in the year. This would translate into a total of 15.48 million foreign arrivals instead of 15.77 million.
For 2009, the kingdom predicts an even slower growth with total arrivals reaching only 16 million, up by 3.3 percent, instead of a 17-million forecast.
According to Santichai Uachongprasit, vice governor for international marketing, various factors such as fuel prices but also political uncertainties and a reduction in airlines capacity will depress incoming markets, especially in the long-haul sector. Spending will however grow with expected revenue per trip increasing this year by THB 39,375 (US$ 1,193) instead of THB 38,760 (US$ 1,173), up by 1.7 percent. But this small percentage would in fact means a weakening as the Thai baht lost since the beginning of the year 7 percent of its value compared to major currencies.
Marketing campaigns will focus on quality, emphasizing niche and high value products such as spa or heath tourism or holidays in luxury resorts and boutique hotels. A new tourism value card with the Amazing Thailand theme will be launched at World Travel Market in London next November, providing numerous discounts to visitors.
Marketing activities will shift also to more regional markets, with a particular focus on Northeast Asia, Southeast Asian nations and India.
According to the TAT, it sees good growth potential at the Middle East and Central/Eastern Europe. The tourism office hopes to get additional funds to open new representations in Kiev, Prague, Kunming, Mumbai and Shanghai.