Thailand has reiterated its focus on attracting more “quality” tourists.
Speaking at a buyers’ lunch at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London this week, the country’s Minister of Tourism & Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, provided information on the steps Thailand is taking to increase its visitor expenditure and average length-of-stay.
“We are now focusing on enhancing visitor expenditure rather than growing visitor numbers. This means we need to provide value-added products and services and motivate visitors to stay longer and spend more. At the same time, we need to ensure a balance between tourism growth and its social and environmental impact,” Ms Kobkarn said.
She also outlined some of the major infrastructure projects being undertaken by the Thai government, including the expansion of international airports in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya, and the development of new cruise ports in Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui and Surat Thani.
In line with the quality tourism focus, Thailand is also planning to create more events, such as yachting regattas, golf tournaments and cycling races.
“As I am the minister of tourism and sports, I would like to say that there are clear linkages between the two. There is a growing market of travellers who want to travel in Thailand and join sport activities. We are now ready to merge tourism and sports into one,” Ms Kobkarn said.
The minister also used the WTM as a platform to introduce the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s new governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, who took over the top job at the national tourism board in September 2015.
“I am honoured to be entrusted in taking an important role in the travel and tourism industry in advancing the socio-economic development of Thailand, as well as the ASEAN and Asia Pacific regions,” said the new governor said. “In order to develop our efficiency to further boost Thailand’s tourism industry, I have set my vision based on what I call the M.O.V.E. concept, comprising of M: Marketing & More; O: Operational Excellence; V: Value Creation; and E: Effectiveness. All are gearing toward positioning Thailand as a quality leisure destination.”
For the first nine months of 2015, Thailand’s international arrivals increased 27% to more than 22 million, while the country generated an estimated THB1.05 trillion (US$29 billion) in tourism revenues. This is projected to increase to 28.8m visitors and THB1.4 trillion revenues by the end of the year.