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Thailand to pursue `Tourism Capital of Asia` status

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to remain on course to make Thailand the Tourism Capital of Asia under its…

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to remain on course to make Thailand the Tourism Capital of Asia under its marketing plan for 2004 finalised earlier this week.

The plan will go into effect in October 2003 with the start of the Thai fiscal year 2003/2004, though the targets cover the period of the calendar year 2004.

It targets visitor arrivals of 11 million in 2004, up 13.4 % over the projected arrivals for 2003. Domestic visitors are targeted at 67.12 million trips, up 3.10 % over the projections for 2003.

Revenue earnings are targeted at 340,000 million Baht from foreign visitors (+17.40%), and 362,500 million Baht from domestic visitors (+20.07%).

Overall, the emphasis will be on attracting `quality visitors,` those with high purchasing power and potential for a long average length of stay.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mrs Juthamas said, Now that the SARS crisis is over and the fallout from the war in Iraq has receded, we can go back to business as usual.

The Thai tourism industry was very badly affected by these recent developments, and we will do everything possible to facilitate a recovery and maintain stable arrivals all through 2004.

The markets targeted for intensive promotions are mainly in the Asia-Pacific region: Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Indochina and New Zealand. Other markets that will see an extra effort include the UK, Italy, Russia, Spain, Finland and the UAE.

Together, these markets generate about 80% of total visitor arrivals.

In terms of segmentation, the plan identifies two target groups. The major groups are identified as MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) delegates, high-income earners, golf, wellness and spa, family, diving, youth and honeymooners, while the minor groups are senior citizens, females, eco & soft adventure, medical tourism, longstay, film-makers, and education.

The domestic target market segments are families, senior citizens, young people, MICE delegates, high income earners and expatriates.

Mrs Juthamas said TAT will maintain its international advertising slogan, Amazing Thailand — Unseen Treasures while the domestic slogan will be Unseen Thailand.

She said, Our key message is designed to make potential visitors aware of the value of new Thai products which they may not have seen or experienced like nature, culture, architecture, historical parks and special interest activities.

In each of these categories, Thailand has many new and interesting products that can be highlighted in order to convince potential visitors to make Thailand the choice of their next holiday.

Mrs Juthamas said TAT will work to boost the image of the country as a quality destination by building and enhancing the brand image. We will also build the knowledge-base of Thailand and the promotional network in cooperation with both the public and private sectors overseas.

At the same time, TAT will establish more overseas offices, do joint marketing with tour operators and airlines, create unique selling points for the various products and increase marketing promotion with the media.

Festivals and activities that will feature highly on TAT`s 2004 marketing plan include the Bangkok International Film Festival, Pattaya Music Festival, Songkran, Loi Krathong, Thailand Grand Sale, and Bangkok Count Down.

Mrs Juthamas said the plan also puts considerable emphasis on boosting tourism contacts and joint marketing campaigns with the neighbouring countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

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