The country’s tourism income has grown 8% already this year, compared to average annual growth of 3% to 5% per year, according to figures cited by the government and the Thai Tourism Promotion Association (TTPA).
However, the government believes it can better that, and is hatching an ambitious campaign drawing various agencies together to push growth. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government would focus mainly on quality tourism and long-stay tourists, government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday (Sept 10).
Supported by results from international surveys in which Thailand, particularly Bangkok, is seen as a destination worth a longer stay, this direction of tourism promotion is likely to become successful, Lt Gen Sansern said.
“Next year we will emphasise tourism which delves into the Thai way of life, in a campaign called Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018,” Lt Gen Sansern said. The promotion will start on Nov 1, 2017 and run until Jan 1, 2019, and will include international tourism-related events.
They include an international ship parade on Nov 18 in Pattaya city in Chonburi and the Air Race1 Thailand at U-tapao airport in November, he said.
“The PM urges every province to think of its distinctive features in terms of history, local wisdom, culture and so on and present them as selling points for tourists to choose from when deciding where to visit,” Lt Gen Sansern said. The PM is also encouraging provinces to form a cluster of tourist destinations that should also be linked to destinations in neighbouring countries, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, in his capacity as a member of the national committee on tourism policy, said Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 has been created as a tool for driving economic growth.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has projected the so-called gross domestic product of Thailand’s tourism sector will in the next 10 years will reach that of the world’s top 10, he said.
Starting on Nov 15, the promotion will be implemented in cooperation with various tourism-related businesses including the country’s leading department stores and airlines. They will adopt the same tourism promotional logo in their campaigns to help raise awareness about Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018, he said.
In a year-on-year comparison, the number of tourists this year has grown 5%, while revenue from tourism is up 8%, or roughly B2.5tn baht, he said.
As for Thai tourists, he said, the tourism policy committee plans to propose the Finance Ministry offer a tax deduction privilege of up to B20,000 per person to attract taxpayers to spend more on domestic tourism from next month until December. However, he is not confident the scheme could be put in place in time. It might be postponed to next year.
To achieve the 10% growth target, seven main areas of tourism will be boosted, namely sports tourism, food tourism, marine tourism, wedding and honeymoon tourism, medical and health tourism, community-based tourism and leisure tourism, he said.
Main airlines including Thai Airways International (THAI), Thai AirAsia and Nok Air will join the campaign by offering special air fares for air travellers who travel in a family group, said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). THAI plans to offer a group of passengers consisting of one child and two adults a special discount on their air fares, while AirAsia has raised the maximum age of child passengers to 15 to allow more passengers to enjoy a discount normally offered to its young passengers, Mr Yuthasak said.
Phuriwat Limthawornrat, president of the Association of Domestic Travel (ADT), said the TTPA plans to offer a 50% discount on package tour services for customers who agree to wear Thai traditional outfits during their tours.
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