BANGKOK, June 2, 2023: Thailand will usher in a new era of tourism prosperity in 2025, the Tourism Authority of Thailand confidently predicted in its latest forecast released Thursday at the country’s annual travel trade show TTM+.
Based on the country’s tourism performance since 2022, TAT forecasts a full tourism recovery by the end of 2024 after Covid-19 travel restrictions are eased. The benchmark remains visitor numbers in 2019, at 39.92 million, the last full year before Covid-19 – the pandemic that shut down global travel in March 2020. Now Thailand is likely to hit the 40 million tourist mark by the end of 2024, but the country will lose four years to the pandemic that cannot be recouped.
The plan of market
TAT is currently fine-tuning its 2024 marketing plan for release to the travel industry at the conclusion of the week-long MAP2024 marketing campaign planning meeting in June. A comprehensive marketing strategy aimed at breaking 2019 records for visitor numbers and tourism receipts to herald business as getting back on track, but with some discrepancies. TAT’s future marketing plans will focus on sustainability, high-value tourism and meaningful travel.
Follow the new government
As the country is undergoing a transition of government after elections in May, TAT said its plans needed to be flexible and adaptable to align with the new government’s policies.
Despite the lack of clear direction from a political standpoint, Tanes Petsuwan, TAT vice-president of international marketing for Asia and the South Pacific, confirmed that the authorities are ready and ready to address the tourism situation and discuss future directions with the incoming cabinet.
“In its 63 years of existence, TAT has worked with government departments from different political parties. Professionally, the organization has followed a strategic direction and achieved its goals with allocated resources.”
Meanwhile, Tanes added that the TAT was closely monitoring the formation of a new government, acknowledging that at least two key points in the memorandum of understanding signed by the eight Coalition parties aligned with the authorities’ focus on sustainability and income distribution.
TTR Weekly asked TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya at TTM’s opening media briefing, which key areas the authorities will highlight as critical to success as the country’s new government prepares to take the helm.
He replied: “Tourism is already an important part of the economy, so the agency (TAT) needs the new government to reiterate that it will continue to support the tourism industry in all areas, including marketing, brand building and tourism development, and tourism will contribute to the economy. The economic impact is as high as possible.”
TTM+ restores confidence
During the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+), held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center from May 31 to June 2, TAT directors gave an update on the progress of Thailand’s tourism industry since the complex underwent major renovations for the first time.
TTM+ attracted 374 international buyers from 50 countries, of which 42% were new buyers. Compared with the 276 buyers who participated in the Phuket event last year, this year’s number of buyers increased by 35.5%.
In addition to sellers, TAT also invited more than 20 professional visitors from Saudi Arabia to provide them with first-hand experience of Thailand’s tourism products and services, which is the first opportunity since the two countries resumed full diplomatic and trade relations.
TTM seller turnout
On the supply side, TTM+ delivered 435 sellers, mostly in the hotel and resort category. This year’s sellers also include the national tourism organizations of Cambodia and Myanmar. This represents a 60.7% increase from last year’s 264 sellers. The TAT expects the B2B platform to generate 11,760 buyer/seller appointments as part of efforts to boost the recovery of the tourism industry to achieve the pre-pandemic international market revenue target of 80 percent, or 1.5 trillion baht, by the end of this year.
In the post-pandemic period, the TAT has set targets for a 50% recovery in 2022, an 80% recovery in 2023 and a 100% recovery in 2024. The recovery of flight capacity is one of the key factors.
According to TAT, the overall percentage of flights to Thailand has resumed at 70% compared to the year before the pandemic. From China alone, flights are 90% up in June compared to 2019.
This year, the TAT is targeting a “base case” of possibly 25 million visitors. From January 1 to May 27, Thailand received 10,378,457 international tourists, generating 428 billion baht in revenue. The top five tourism markets are Malaysia (1,606,373), China (1,098,604), Russia (734,995), South Korea (627,760) and India (583,319).
In order to achieve the year-end goals, TAT will continue to carry out activities in line with the communication theme of “Travel Thailand 2023: An Exciting New Chapter”. TTM+ is expected to become a platform to improve performance in the second half of the year. This year’s TTM+ continues to showcase and highlight Thailand’s tourism industry’s ongoing efforts in promoting meaningful travel experiences.
For the first time TAT organized a satellite event together with TTM+. These events include domestic travel fairs that promote tourism in different regions. It also introduced Amazing Thailand Culinary City to enhance food tourism by bringing together food tourism suppliers to showcase their products and services to international buyers and consumers.
Chattan said: “TAT is illustrating that Thailand provides meaningful travel to improve the experience of tourists. This includes discovery, transformation, fulfillment and engagement between people, culture and nature, which underscores the direction of TAT to become a leader in protecting the country’s vast Natural and scenic destinations, and launched a series of environmental protection initiatives.”