Some 15.5 million international tourist arrivals will be targeted for 2011, generating an approximate revenue of 600 billion Baht (US$18.5 billion), an increase of 9 percent from last year, and the domestic tourism sector expects to have 91 million trips with revenue of 432 billion Baht (US$13.3 billion), a rise of 3 percent from last year.
The “Amazing Thailand” theme has gained worldwide recognition, as it built up the country’s strong brand and positioning as a destination that offers tremendous value-for-money, a unique culture, and a wide variety of experiences to visitors. This theme is being complemented by the “Always Amazes You” tag line to reinforce the concept of “Thainess” – that makes the Kingdom a truly exceptional destination and differentiates it from other countries, as well as have confidence in traveling to Thailand for their holidays and business meetings.
“For 2011, we will build on Thailand’s many traditional strengths as a preferred tourist destination by branching out into new market segments such as green and sustainable tourism,” said Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. “We will also expand traditional channels into more online and social media activations, reaching the next generation of visitors who have a desire for more interesting and stimulating travel experiences.”
Outreach via traditional and social media channels
The TAT’s marketing campaigns for 2011 will be highly visible worldwide through traditional promotional channels including TV commercials and vignettes, print advertising, out-of-home media, brochures, and posters. There will also be an increased use of celebrity marketing, inviting popular actors and sports figures to major events in Thailand, while also encouraging the movie industry to consider Thailand as a shooting location.
In the new media space, TAT will reach the younger demographic of travelers using social media, such as an Amazing Thailand video channel on YouTube featuring short documentaries, more use of E-Books and E-Brochures, an iThai application to get Thai tourism updates on iPhone, and an Internet call center that visitors can contact via computer. We will also build on the member network of the Thailand Fan Club that has already been established in our Europe and Middle East markets.
Positive signs for the tourism sector in 2011
There are many positive indicators of a promising year for Thai tourism in 2011. They include the stabilization of the Thai political situation, with foreign governments easing their travel warnings about Thailand. Recent surveys of tourists in Thailand showed there is still a very positive attitude towards Thailand, with them considering it a friendly, exciting, and welcoming place with a lot of variety.
Other positive indicators for the coming year include economies around Asia showing steady improvement, with countries such as India and Australia showing solid signs of growth. This is especially promising for short-haul markets such as India, China, and Indonesia, which have large populations of potential visitors just a few hours away. The airline industry is also demonstrating its confidence in Thailand with new flights added from key markets such as, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.
The “Amazing Thailand – Always Amazes You” campaign will focus on specific activities that are popular with visitors from Asian markets. The value that Thailand offers to shoppers will be highlighted through the “Amazing Thailand Shopping Paradise” campaign. The foundation of this campaign is the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale,” which will see even more activities and special offers from participating department stores. TAT will more actively engage target markets through their local media and support for tour companies to sell holiday shopping packages.
There will be ongoing promotion of Thailand’s strength as a shopping destination. TAT will arrange for media familiarization visits to the country’s leading shopping areas. It will also work with major department stores to offer discount coupons to distribute to tourists and tour companies that offer shopping packages.
Given the popularity of golf among Asian visitors, TAT will also highlight Thailand’s hundreds of world-class golf courses. The “Amazing Thailand Golf Paradise” campaign will include the “Thailand Golf Invitation TAT 50th Anniversary Golf Tournament.” Marketing activities will include support for TV golf programs, new promotional materials to highlight Thailand as a preferred golf destination, joint marketing, and support for “Golf Package” sales with tour companies and golf magazines, bringing leading golf columnists to Thailand so they can experience Thailand’s golf courses first hand, and inviting media to visit the Golf Travel Mart.
The “5 Asian Tigers Golf Tournament” will be hosted especially for the East Asia markets. Related activities include arranging a golf inspection trip for travel agents and media to try out golf courses in Chiang Mai and throughout the northern region during May 2011. Seminars and golf tournaments for consumers will also take place around this time.
To appeal to the growing market of environmentally-conscious travelers, TAT will introduce the “Go Green, Go Thailand” campaign. It will bring travel agents and media to the Kingdom to survey Green Destinations, check out Green Label products, and join conservation activities such as planting trees and preserving coral reefs. They will also be invited to join the Thailand Eco and Adventure Travel Mart 2011.
“In addition to focusing on restoring Thai tourism for the remainder of this year, TAT is working closely with Thailand’s travel sector to develop products and marketing initiatives that will sustain tourism over the long term. We will announce many more initiatives during the coming months that will help to ensure we meet the country’s tourism targets for 2011,” concluded Mr. Suraphon.
For domestic tourism, the TAT plans to establish a new dimension in terms of value and understanding among Thai people about the important contribution their domestic travel makes to the Thai economy. By making domestic tourism an integral part of Thai people’s lives, 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 travel with awareness (pride), travel with creativity (gain new ideas and perspectives), travel together (to encourage unity and respect for diversity), travel with understanding (gain knowledge and wisdom), and travel by the heart (feel love and cherish the amazing moments).
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