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Thailand targets 28 million arrivals

Queues at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport could get longer next year
Queues at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport could get longer next year

Thailand is planning to welcome more than 28 million international visitors next year.

Unveiling its 2014 action plan in Bangkok this week, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said it wanted to increase arrivals and tourism revenues by concentrating on the promotion of “Thainess”, and luring more high-end tourists.

TAT has set a target of 28.01m international tourist arrivals next year, 14% more than the 24.5m visitors it expects to receive in 2013. If the 2014 target is achieved, it would also mark a staggering 97% jump in visitor numbers in just the last five years.

Along with the rise in arrivals, the TAT estimated that tourism receipts would rise 13% next year to THB1.326 trillion (US$42.3 billion).

“Finalising the 2014 marketing plan has been a particularly challenging exercise in view of all the phenomenal and monumental changes taking place both worldwide, regionally, and locally within Thailand, in customer demographics as well as the way the industry does business,” said TAT governor, Suraphon Svetasreni.

“Because Thailand is blessed with an unmatched geographical advantage, and numerous other strengths which have served us well over the years, we had to find ways of adapting our strategies to take advantage of our strengths and address some of the looming weaknesses. We think this plan does that,” he added.

The TAT said its strategy would focus on driving “higher revenue through Thainess”, or attracting more high-end tourists with the lure of Thai culture and quality products. It will also aim to better balance its source markets and distribution of visitors across Thailand, in an effort to reduce visitor congestion in the popular destinations.

In terms of the domestic market, the TAT set a target of 136.8 million trips, generating estimated THB700bn in receipts – a year-on-year increase of 9%.

Its numbers will likely be helped along by Emirates’ announcement it will add a sixth daily flight between Dubai and Bangkok.