Yuthasak Supasorn (TAT Governor): Europe is very important for Thailand
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand talks to TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific for the importance of the European market to Thailand’s tourism.
We met Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand in London, during the World Travel Market 2015, where he presented Thailand’s Marketing Strategy for Europe. Mr. Supasorn explained the importance of the European markets for Thailand’s tourism.
TravelDailyNews: How has the European markets developed for Thailand's tourism in the past?
Yuthasak Supasorn: Arrivals from Europe have historically played a major role in the development of Thai tourism. In 2014, European visitor arrivals totalled 6.16 million, generating about 7.65 billion Pounds (420.86 billion Baht). In January – September 2015, European visitors generated about 4.9 billion Pounds (271 billion Baht) in revenue for the Thai tourism industry from nearly 4 million visitors. Of this number, around 17% were UK tourists who generated 884 million Pounds (48.62 billion Baht) in visitor income.
TDN: What is the profile of the European travellers who visit Thailand?
Y.S.: In total, Thailand is projecting 6.38 million visitors from Europe in 2015, generating an estimated 8.2 billion Pounds (about 455 billion Baht) in tourism income.
European visitors are very important, and will continue to remain important because they have the longest average length of stay (16.40 days). For example, the average length of stay of visitors from Germany is 17.53 days. Other European countries with average lengths of stay are Sweden (19.48 days), the UK (17.13 days), the Netherlands (16.87 days), and Italy (15.83%).
TDN: What is the travelling period for Europeans who visit Thailand and which travel products and destinations are their most favourite?
Y.S.: Europeans are what we call a mature market with a high percentage of repeat travellers who are keen to explore new destinations. Usually, they travel to Thailand during the winter season. However, many of them have been to Thailand and are familiar with the traditional destinations; such as, Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. We are now keen to try and get them to see new destinations; such as, mentioned above in the ‘Hidden Gems’ category. Young people and retirees with more time on their hands are also being encouraged to visit Thailand in the summer months.
TDN: How does TAT facilitate the travelling decision of European consumers and what kind of promotion tools is provided to the European travel agents?
Y.S.: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) makes extensive and creative use of social media to reach our target markets, especially young people. It has helped us fine tune our ability to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. This is the age of the consumer. They can communicate their experiences directly to and amongst each other. Such media is more effective than simply advertising and is the equivalent of spreading “word of mouth” information via social media.
TAT has long been actively engaged with social media networks including Facebook and Twitter, and has also made good use of mobile apps; such as, promoting Thailand as a Muslim-friendly destination, Street Food Bangkok, as well as various online campaigns like the “Thailand Fanclub”, etc.