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European markets drive Thailand’s tourism recovery: Insights from Chiravadee Khunsab at TTM+ 2024

Chiravadee Khunsab discusses the significant contribution of European markets to Thailand’s tourism recovery and future plans at Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2024 in Khao Lak.

At the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2024 in Khao Lak, Phang-Nga province, Chiravadee Khunsab, Executive Director of Europe Region at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, shared valuable insights into the role of European markets in Thailand’s tourism recovery. Despite the slow but steady recovery post-pandemic, European visitors have shown a significant impact on the tourism industry in Thailand.

Khunsab noted that over 3.3 million European tourists have visited Thailand so far, with key markets including Russia, the UK, France, and Germany. Notably, Russia has nearly reached its pre-COVID visitor numbers, a testament to the strong appeal of Thailand in these regions. The focus now is not just on returning visitors but also on attracting first-time travelers, with an emphasis on luxury hotels, wellness, sports tourism, and cultural experiences.

In a strategic move, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is promoting lesser-known destinations like northern Chiang Mai, Phrae, Nan, Sukhothai, and the beautiful eastern coast areas like Trat and Rayong. This diversification aims to offer a richer and more varied experience for both new and returning visitors.

Addressing the importance of airline partnerships, Khunsab highlighted successful agreements with British Airways and Turkish Airlines, among others, to increase flight connectivity. Additionally, the introduction of extended visas and the new Destination Tourist Visa, allowing stays up to one year, is set to attract more long-term visitors, including digital nomads.

Sustainability is another critical focus. The Thai tourism sector is preparing to meet new European Union regulations that require environmentally conscious supply chains. This includes initiatives to reduce greenwashing and ensure genuine sustainable practices across hotels, restaurants, and transportation services.

Lastly, Khunsab emphasized the potential of Phang-Nga as a quality destination showcased during TTM+ 2024. The event attracted 425 buyers from 50 countries, facilitating over 14,500 appointments, and underscored the region’s capacity to deliver high-quality tourism experiences.

Thailand’s commitment to enhancing its tourism infrastructure, promoting diverse destinations, and embracing sustainability positions it well to continue attracting European markets and boosting the economy. The Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2024 is a significant step in showcasing these efforts to the world.

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