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17 Jul, 2012

Full Details: Thailand’s Tourism Marketing Action Plan 2013

Bangkok, July 16 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand has unveiled a series of strategies designed to maintain Thailand’s brand image, marketing profile and visitor arrivals in a world of unprecedented change.

Announced today after the conclusion of the TAT’s annual action planning meeting, the strategies are designed to ensure that the travel and tourism industry takes advantage of all the emerging opportunities while preparing itself to deal with any threats and challenges, both external and internal.

The TAT has set a 2013 target of 22.22 million international tourist arrivals, generating estimated foreign exchange revenues of 966 billion baht (USD 30.62 billion, based on the exchange rate of 31.54 baht to the dollar).

Said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “Tourism is now recognised as Thailand’s most important service industry. Its contribution to job creation, income distribution and foreign exchange earnings is well above par. While the industry has been doing well so far, it cannot rest on its laurels in an unstable and unpredictable world.”

The primary determinant of how travel and tourism performs in future will be global economic and geopolitical stability. If this continues, there will be no shortage of opportunities, technologies and activities to capitalize on demand.

By far the most important opportunity is the emergence of the ASEAN Economic Community and prospects of free movement of products and people by 2015. These opportunities increase manifold when the nearly 600 million strong population of the 10 ASEAN countries is expanded to include ASEAN +3 (China, Japan and South Korea) and beyond by another three countries to include ASEAN +6 (Russia, India and Australia).

To capitalize on this, the TAT has crafted the “Thailand and Beyond Strategy” to be ready for AEC in 2015.

At the same time, some traditional source markets such as Europe are slowing down while other new markets such as Africa are emerging. It is also becoming an increasingly competitive market as just about every global destination joins the tourism promotion bandwagon.

Meanwhile, global demographics are also changing with ageing populations in some countries and more young populations in others. Either way, Thailand is fortunate to have a range of products, both natural and man-made, that are well suited to meeting demand.

Overall, the TAT has to ensure creativity and visibility by highlighting Thailand’s unique strengths, and undertake campaigns that target the right customer with the right message and right product at the right place at the right time.

Here are some of the highlights of the 2013 Action Plan:

  • The core theme of the 2013 TAT Action Plan is “Higher Revenue through Thainess”. The TAT will attract tourists with the Charm of Thainess which includes Thai Experience, Thai Way of Life, and Thai Culture.
  • The marketing messages will emphasize Creative Tourism, where tourists can participate in and learn about unique Thai experiences, such as Thai boxing, Thai massage, Thai cooking, and Thai classical dancing. Thai food and Thai local wisdom will also be used as unique selling propositions.
  • One campaign, known as “Discover The Other You” will be especially important in order to promote experiential travel––which taps into a global desire among visitors to learn something new and acquire a new experience.
  • Some key aspects of Thai lifestyles include basic things such as rice farming, massage and meditation techniques, will also be used. For the first time images for visitors participating in a rice harvest and ploughing the fields behind a water buffalo will be used in Thai marketing campaigns.
  • TAT will put more effort to increase first-time visitors and high spenders (luxury markets). Four niche products used to attract high-spenders will be Golf, Health & Wellness, Wedding & Honeymoon, and Green Tourism.
  • TAT will try to increase charter and low-cost carrier flights to destinations where there is no direct access. LCC’s will also be used to broaden the base for mainstream tourists.
  • A Partner on Demand strategy will be used to increase the number of strategic alliances and enhance the add-on impact of marketing efforts.
  • Trade shows and road shows will be extensively used in both main markets and new potential markets.
  • All the major global media will be used, especially sports and special-interest TV channels. The same strategy will be used in the print media, especially to reach business executives.
  • The new digital media will be a special focus of attention. Partnerships will also be forged with hotel partners to produce and show special interest videos such as those highlighting weddings and honeymoons.Celebrity marketing will require linking up with famous people who can act as brand ambassadors.
  • The TAT will also put considerable emphasis on a tourism intelligence unit and a crisis management centre. These will be designed to sharpen research skills in order to identify emerging trends and opportunities, and also react efficiently and promptly to the increasing number of global crises.


TAT Devises “DISCO Plan” To Implement Tourism Action Strategies for 2013

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has divided its action plan into five implementation categories under the acronym, “DISCO Plan.” These include: Digital marketing, Image-building, Sustainable Development, Crystallization/Crisis Management, and Organization Management.

According to TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, these five categories clearly identify how the TAT will work with all its partners and stakeholders, both within Thailand and abroad, as well as upgrade the quality of its internal personnel skills to deliver on the tourism targets.

Said the Governor, “The strategic direction for TAT action in 2013 has been formulated entirely with the cooperation of all parties involved in the tourism industry, and its implementation will also need the same level of cooperation.

“We began with brainstorming sessions in the “Marketing Think Tank 2013″ meetings in March 2012 and worked extensively with the private sector through focus groups. All our TAT offices abroad also consulted our foreign partners. It can be said that this year, everybody is involved in determining the marketing direction of Thailand’s tourism industry.”

Mr. Suraphon said that these days, the best-laid plans can be quickly disrupted by unexpected developments, which means that the industry has to be ready to change all the time.

“The context of the changing world around us is a constant challenge. That never stops, it keeps changing all the times. It is something we have to recognize it and be prepared to face. We have to work together to create new opportunities.”

The implementation plans have been categorised as follows:

DIGITAL MARKETING: This is the “new media” of the 21st century, increasingly in use by young people but slowly cutting across all demographics. Its use is growing as countries upgrade their technological capabilities to bridge the digital divide. The TAT moved into the digital era several years ago and gained extensive expertise in the art of using powerful imagery and messages to convince target customers to visit Thailand. This will be continued in future.

IMAGE BUILDING – Thailand has always had a good image amongst the travelling public worldwide. However, maintaining this image remains an ongoing challenge, especially in view of strong competition from both emerging and established destinations worldwide. The emergence of quality lifestyle products such as health & wellness, weddings and honeymoon, golf, marine tourism, etc, goes a long way towards strengthening this image and will remain a primary focus of marketing efforts.

SUSTAINABILITY: The impact of global warming and climate change means that travellers of all kinds are more conscious of their ecological impact. Hence, the pursuit of economic gains from tourism must be balanced with efforts to offset ecological and environmental impact. This means continuing to reward good practises among the private sector and helping destinations and companies upgrade their sustainability efforts.

CRYSTALLIZATION & CRISIS MANAGEMENT – In a fast-changing and increasingly unstable world, the ability to spot emerging trends and react to unforeseen developments lies at the heart of decision-making. Thailand has gained extensive experience in this area, as witnessed by the response to the 2011 flooding crisis. Special units have been set up within the TAT such as a Tourism Intelligence Unit and a Crisis Management Centre.

ORGANIZATION MANAGEMENT: This is the heart of the implementation process. All marketing plans need to be professionally executed and evaluated. The TAT will continue to upgrade the delivery skills of its staff in order to ensure better bang for the buck and meeting of the Key Performance Indicators.

According to Mr. Suraphon, “The changing nature of the tourism industry makes it impossible for any marketing agency to operate in isolation. We are fortunate to have a very marketable product and supportive partners, both in the public and private sectors, in Thailand and abroad.

“With their help and advice, I am sure we will be able to pull off a successful 2012 and 2013.”


Thailand Tourism Receipts Up 30%, Highlighting Value for Money Factor

Thailand recorded a 31% increase in tourism receipts in 2011 over 2010, according to Ministry of Tourism and Sports figures. The total earnings of 776 billion baht (US$25.45 billion) were also well above the original target of 716 billion baht (US$ 23 billion).

The figures show that Thailand has recorded clear increases in both quality and quantity of visitor arrivals. The growth in total number of visitors is being matched by increased average length of stay and average daily expenditure, further underscoring the role of tourism as one of the most important economic sectors and contributor to job creation and nationwide income distribution.

According to the Ministry, Thailand recorded 19.23 million international visitors in 2011, up by 20.67% over 2010. With an average length of stay of 9.64 days, and an average daily spend of 4,187.12 baht (US$137) per person, the Thai tourism industry generated 776 billion baht in earnings.

By regions, the East Asia (+39.40%) recorded the largest increase in receipts in 2011, followed by South Asia (+33.27%), Oceania (+32.84%), Africa (+32.21%), Europe (+26.20%), the Americas (+20.36%) and Middle East (+19.79%).

Europe holds the largest share of international tourism receipts in absolute numbers (38.23% share), reaching US$ 9,733 million in 2011, followed by East Asia (37.33% share or US$ 9,505 million), the Americas (7.10% share or US$ 1,807 million), Oceania (7.30% share or US$ 1,858 million), South Asia (4.85% share or US$ 1,235 million), The Middle East (4.29% share) earned US$ 1,093 million and Africa (0.88% share) US$ 224 million.

According to the per capita daily spending, the top 10 ranked tourism spenders in 2011 were UAE (US$175.21), Saudi Arabia (US$166.92), South Africa (US$164.10), India (US$161.78), Hong Kong (US$161.63), Singapore (US$160.96), Kuwait (US$159.66), Australia (US$159.19), Brunei Darussalam (US$155.30) and Korea (US$153.17).

Amongst Asian visitors, the lowest daily spend is by Laotians (US$101.99) and amongst Europeans, the lowest daily spend is by Germans (US$115.46).

In terms of total expenditure by all visitors, the top five nationalities were Russia, China, Australia, Malaysia, and United Kingdom. Here is a brief snapshot summary of each:

Russia: Thanks to the increasing number of charter flights, Russia is now the top generator of arrivals from Europe, up 63.45% to 1,052,361 in 2011. In 2011, Russian tourists spent a total of US$1,970.84 million (60 billion baht), based on an average length of stay of 13.29 days and an average daily spend of US$140.92 per person.

China: In 2011, China was the second largest source of visitors after Malaysia, with total arrivals of 1,704,800, up 50.57% over 2010. Based on an average daily spend per person of US$146.63, and average length of stay of 7.61 days, Chinese visitors generated tourism revenue of US$1,902.32 million (58 billion baht).

Australia: In 2011, Australian visitors to Thailand totalled 835,719, up 18.89% over 2010. Based on an ALS of 12.78 days and an average daily spend of US$159.19 per person, Australians generated US$1,700.27 million (51.8 billion baht) of tourism income.

Malaysia: Malaysia is Thailand’s largest source of visitor arrivals with a total of 2,492,034 in 2011, up 21.73% over 2010. Based on an ALS of 4.78 days and an average daily spend of US$137.10 per person, Malaysia generated US$1,633.15 million (49.79 billion baht) in tourism receipts.

United Kingdom: The United Kingdom is the second largest generator of arrivals from Europe with a total of 771,466 visitors in 2011, up 1.48% over 2010. Based on an average daily spend of US$121.84 per person and an ALS of 17.35 days, the UK generated US$1,630.80 million (49.72 billion baht) in tourism receipts.

Overall, the figures show that the recent strengthening of the baht against the US$ is having little impact on expenditure patterns and Thailand remains good value for money for visitors across the board.


China, Malaysia Cross One-Million Arrivals Mark in First Half 2012

The Thai tourism industry continued its strong performance in the first six months of 2012, with total arrivals of 10,496,789, up 7.60% over the same period of 2011.

The most important contributor to this growth was arrivals from China which, for the first time, crossed the one million arrivals mark in the six-month period to record a total of 1,124,234, up by a robust 28.87% over January-June 2011.

Here is the listing of the Top Ten Source Markets of Visitors to Thailand in the first half of 2012:

 Rank Nationality

Jan – Jun 2012

Jan – Jun 2011

% Change




















































Below is a summary of the overall figures for the period of January – June 2012, with the percentage change over the same period of 2011, tabulated on arrivals by nationality at all points of entry into Thailand:


East Asia recorded 5,486,941 arrivals (market share 52.27% of total arrivals). Europe 2,971,939 (market share 28.31%); The Americas 545,042 (5.19% share); South Asia 632,976 (6.03% share); Oceania 477,894 (4.55% share); Middle East 296,653 (2.83% share); and Africa 85,344 (0.81% share).

East Asia (+5.73%)

• Japan is the fourth largest source of visitor arrivals to Thailand with total of 630,058, up 11.47%.

• Korea is the fifth largest source of visitor arrivals with total of 540,523, up 4.88%.

• Arrivals from the neighbouring ASEAN countries also showed good growth, e.g., Vietnam (+24.96%), Brunei Darussalam (+20.15%), Cambodia (+12.32%), Myanmar (+12.30%), Laos (+9.16%), Indonesia (+4.40%), Singapore (+4.53%). Only the Philippines was down (-3.44%).

Europe (+11.12%)

• Russia remained ahead of the UK and Germany as the largest source market from Europe, with total arrivals of 634,312, up 12.21%.

• The UK and Germany ranked the second and third largest sources of visitor arrivals – 433,989 (+1.52%) and 357,472 (+9.71%), respectively.

• French visitor arrivals totalled 304,717 (+17.11%).

• Arrivals from the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark grew by 17.59%, 16.45% and 14.84%, respectively.

The Americas: (+10.58%)

• The US is the tenth top source-market of arrivals to Thailand with a total of 379,430 (+8.63%).

• Canadian visitors grew by 10.62% to 114,678.

• Brazilian visitors grew by 23.65% to 14,965.

South Asia (+5.83%)

• India is the biggest source of visitors in South Asia and the sixth largest source of total arrivals. Arrivals were up 6.32% to 504,634 arrivals.

• Pakistani visitor arrivals totalled 34,809 (-2.65%).

• Bangladeshi visitor arrivals totalled 33,494 (-0.20%).

• Visitors from Sri Lanka grew by 20.85% to 32,878.

Oceania: (+9.45%).

• Arrivals from Australia and New Zealand were up 9.63% to 427,096 and 8.15% to 49,365, respectively.

Middle East: (-0.15%)

• The UAE experienced a decline of -0.76%.

• Visitors from other Middle East markets (such as Iran) were down 7.08%.

• However, other Middle East source markets were up, especially Saudi Arabia (50.51%) and Kuwait (19.97%). Arrivals from Egypt were up by 22.49%.

Africa: (+28.88%)

• The most important source market of South Africa was up 13.99% to 35,319.

• Other countries are also showing considerable promise with a total growth of 41.97% to 50,025.

For 2012, TAT has set a target of 20.5 million total international visitors. This is a conservative estimate but is certain to be exceeded if the international economic and geopolitical situation remains stable.


Domestic Tourism Campaign to Make Travel “Part of Life”

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has set a domestic tourism target of 107.4 million trips with revenue earnings of 453 billion Baht (USD 14.36 billion) in 2013.

The domestic tourism campaigns planned for the rest of 2012 and into 2013 will seek to promote travel and tourism as a part of life for Thai people and foreign residents of Thailand, not just a luxury or a recreational activity but a necessity.

The campaigns will also strive to reinforce a strong sense of national identity among Thais, especially young travellers. The key marketing slogan will be “New Thinking, New Perspectives – Travel in Thailand Can Yield More Than You Think.”

It will also be designed to open new destinations and decongest the popular ones.

Domestic tourism has become an increasingly important component of the overall tourism mix. The growing Thai middle-class has the time, means, and the propensity to travel. It plays an important role socially, economically, environmentally and culturally.

Its importance has become particularly acute especially in times of crisis, when international travel tends to be affected, enhancing the role of domestic travel as a means of economic survival.

Thai government offices and many large corporations, both Thai and foreign, are also offering domestic trips as part of their incentive programs and holding their corporate meetings, team-building events and training forums within the country itself.

Also aiding and abetting the growing numbers of domestic travellers are the vast improvements in the quality of Thailand’s road system, low-season marketing campaigns by the hotels and the increasing number of low-cost airlines operating in the country.

A number of domestic travel trade shows are organised annually, many of which provide opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises to attract new business.