The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to start shifting the structure and directions of the national tourism industry towards a new value-based offer in order to position Thailand as a Quality Leisure Destination.
The new strategic policy is designed to bring tourism, now recognised by the country’s leaders and policymakers as of one of Thailand’s most successful economic pillars, in line with the 20-year reform programme, called Thailand 4.0, being charted by the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha under the vision slogan, “Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability.”
Tourism is one of seven industries considered the backbone of the emerging digital economy. It also has enormous potential to contribute to the creative development of sub-sectors; such as, health and wellness, culture and heritage, and the natural environment. Hence, the new model will strive to transform Thailand’s comparative advantage into a competitive advantage.
The Annual TAT Action Plan meeting (TATAP) held in the Northeastern province of Khon Kaen between 4-7 July, 2016, was designed entirely around how to ensure that the tourism industry can contribute to this objective. The meeting was attended by TAT executives from head offices, as well as domestic and overseas offices worldwide.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Our goal now is to move the industry from offering “Value for Money” to “Value for Experience”. We will focus on the “Unique Thai Local Experiences” to create valuable and memorable experiences to quality tourists by creating value tourism products and upgrading product standards. This will mean greater emphasis on promoting Creative Tourism through Thai culture, experiences and way of life.”
TAT will also develop a broad range of marketing communications material in line with the objectives to highly give greater prominence to the “Unique local experience of Thailand” on the world stage. The Amazing Thailand brand will remain in place supported by powerful narratives called “Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand”.
In 2017, the target is to raise revenue earnings from domestic visitors by 10% to 950 billion Baht, and from international visitors by 10% to 1.89 trillion Baht.
In 2017, TAT has selected Chiang Rai province, as a model for sustainable tourism development. The foundations of Green Growth (economic, social and environmental balance) will be laid first in Chiang Saen district and gradually expanded across the province.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “We want to ensure that Thailand is seen as a ‘Preferred Destination’ in the minds of international visitors. At the same time, visitor arrivals will have to be managed by greater focus on sustainability and management of the natural resources.”
He added, “Strength from Within and Qualitatively Connect to the World are the keys to the success. Strengthening of the local business communities, and small and medium sized enterprises at the grassroots of society, as well as promoting local and stakeholder empowerment by integrating the value chain between the private and public sectors (Public and Private Partnership) will be crucial to the successful development of creative and value-based tourism.”
TAT has a continuous range of festivals, trade shows, international conferences, and other cultural and heritage events designed to grow international and domestic tourism flows. This year, Thailand will be the host country for the annual World Tourism Day marked on 27 September under the aegis of the UN World Tourism Organisation. In 2017, Thailand will also host the Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council in April and the Destination Wedding Planners Congress in May.