TAT Deputy Governor Speech at Thailand Media Briefing, TTM+ 2019
Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, delivered the following speech at the Thailand media briefing “Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2019: New Shades of Emerging Destinations”, held on Wednesday, 5 June, 2019, from 13.30 – 14.15 Hrs., at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Pattaya, Chonburi.
Sawasdee khrap, Good afternoon distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.
Let me welcome you all to the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2019 or TTM+ 2019. It is the second time that the trade event is being held at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya. This year, the event is held under the theme ‘New Shades of Emerging Destinations’, which will be our main topic for the media briefing today.
Last month, Thailand witnessed the auspicious occasion when the Royal Coronation was held to celebrate the accession to the throne of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn. This was a historic moment that brought the greatest joy to the Thai people.
Overview of Thailand’s tourism industry in 2018
Let me start by giving you an overview of Thailand’s tourism industry last year.
In 2018, the Thai tourism industry recorded a total of thirty-eight million international arrivals, up by 7.54 percent, generating an estimated sixty-two billion USD up by 9.63 percent over 2017. Our top five source markets were China with more than ten million arrivals, Malaysia, South Korea, Lao PDR. and India, while ASEAN for the first time exceeded ten million visitors in 2018.
This year, TAT has set a growth target of twelve percent in tourism revenue from the international market.
Direction of Thailand’s tourism industry in 2019
In 2019, TAT has continuously moved Thailand towards the ‘Preferred Destination’.
It is to offer quality products and services to travellers through Unique Local Experiences while balancing quantity versus quality, and marketing versus management. Accordingly, responsible tourism is what we will emphasise from now on to achieve that goal. The key will be to manage those numbers and inculcate a higher level of environmental consciousness across the entire industry.
To action this strategy, this year, we are undertaking a range of environmental initiatives; for instance, TAT has carried on its CSR activities ‘Travel Thailand in Style, Reduce Plastic Waste’ in collaboration with the public and private sector partners to encourage tourists to travel responsibly by leaving only footprints and taking only good memories. Also, the production of the documentary series called ‘The Seasons’ is to raise a sense of responsibility with the beauty of nature and way of life. I have the latest episode to show you.
—————- VDO The Seasons Episode 7: The Colours of a Day (4.42 mins.) ————–
Ladies and gentlemen,
For the TTM+ 2019, we have a total of 340 buyers from 51 countries around the world participating this year, an increase by 18.47 percent over last year. Around 52 percent are repeaters. This reflects a positive response as well as growing interest of buyers overseas in Thailand’s tourism industry. Buyers from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East makes up the majority of all, followed by ASEAN, South Asia, the South Pacific, and East Asia, respectively.
Looking at the sellers’ side, there are 370 delegates comprising hotels and resorts, tour operators, emerging destinations, the Greater Mekong Sub-region, national tourism organisations (NTOs) and others. Hotels and resorts share the largest number of sellers.
Moreover, we have welcomed around 130 international and domestic media to join the trade event.
New Shades of Emerging Destinations
The TTM+ 2019 is held under the theme of ‘New Shades of Emerging Destinations’. In fact, TAT has stepped up our efforts to promote the emerging destinations for many years; such as, the ‘12 Hidden Gems and 12 Hidden Gems Plus’ with the aim to create jobs and distribute revenue countrywide, from major cities to local communities, while creating sustainability by balancing the number of visitors to the destinations. Right now, the emerging destinations have expanded to 55 cities offered to both the international and domestic markets. In 2018, we have seen 6 million trips by foreign tourists to these cities, a growth of +4.95 percent over the last year.
Besides, the emerging cities will be optional destinations for those who seek off-the-beaten-path holidays and repeaters who are looking for new products. The destinations offer diversity of culture, history, way of life, and so on that have yet been unexplored. So, it is time to greater promote the emerging destinations. It will be integrated in all our marketing and communication strategies, which I am going to talk about shortly.
Journey of ‘Open to the New Shades’
How do we promote the emerging destinations to international tourists across the world?
So, our communication concept ‘Open to the New Shades’ has been used to enhance awareness about the emerging destinations. It has been well aligned with our marketing direction and sends out the right message. That is to motivate tourists to explore the undiscovered experiences in Thailand.
According to its key idea, “Open to the New Shades” is a communication concept that encourages travellers to expand their experiences and uncovers a new perception of attractions in Thailand. It is aimed at attracting more repeat visitors to seek the ‘shade’ unexplored and also first-time visitors.
In 2018, we placed emphasis on these two keywords. One is ‘Open’. We are asking the travellers themselves to ‘OPEN’ their minds and hearts, another word is ‘Shades’, which refer to the diversity or millions of experiences that await for them to discover. In 2019, This journey is developed from diversifying the experiences to highlight the immersive tourism. In other words, tourists are encouraged to engage themselves with those experiences about those shades in a deeper level through hands-on activities.
Get to know the A-B-C Strategy
In order to effectively promote the emerging cities, TAT has adopted the A-B-C strategy that boosts the identity and character of emerging tourist destinations by creating travel routes that better distribute visitor flows from primary to emerging cities as per the following “A B C” concept.
A – Additional: Linking major and emerging cities
Main destinations can draw a great number of visitors. We promote connectivity routes from major destinations to nearby emerging cites in order to expand their experiences as well as length of stay. Also, existence of transport at the main cities can attract a flow of tourists and distribute to the neighbouring cities; for example, in the North, tourists can travel by car within an hour to Lamphun and Lampang from Chiang Mai. Likewise, Pattaya to Chanthaburi and Trat in the East.
B – Brand New: Promoting new potential emerging cities
Some emerging destinations can be individually promoted thanks to their strong identity and positioning; such as, Buri Ram. Apart from the Khmer civilisation, the city is well-known for staging domestic and global sports events with the presence of the Chang Arena and Chang International Circuit. This year, the circuit will again welcome all racers and spectators worldwide in the MotoGp2019 in Buri Ram after its great success last year.
C – Combined: Combining emerging cities together
Some emerging cities are combined and promoted together due to their proximity. For some routes, they share relevant stories or civilisations; for example, Sukhothai is combined with Phitsanulok and Kamphaeng Phet for its outstanding history route while Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung are grouped for enriched Southern civilisation.
Emerging cities increasingly known to tourists
As I have said earlier that TAT has been promoting the emerging destinations for a couple of years. Right now, our attempt has started to pay off since some of these cities have seen growing arrivals of international tourists in the past few years as follows:
Chiang Rai: No one would not know this city after a mission to help ‘the Wild Boars’ last year. It has also climbed to the most visited emerging city in recent years and has become the most favoured by Chinese tourists among others. Chiang Rai is laid-back and enriched with both cultural gems and natural wonders; such as, the White and Blue Temples, as well as Phu Chi Fah.
Trat has become a rising destination for island hoppers especially for European visitors. German tourists have emerged as a top market. Located in the East of Thailand, Trat boasts being a beach hideaway for those seeking peace of mind; such as, Ko Chang and Ko Kut.
Sukhothai is a magnet for those passionate in history, as it was the first capital of the Kingdom and the Sukhothai Historical Park is acclaimed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This destination has become increasingly popular with French tourists.
Nong Khai is popular with Laotians and foreign tourists for its bordering city and leads to the CLMVT route. Nearby is Udon Thani, which boasts the Ban Chiang Archaeological Site, which was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1992.
Recommended emerging destinations
Here are some examples of emerging destinations on the rise in the future.
Mae Hong Son: We project to see this mist-shrouded city gradually gain popularity from various markets including Europe, Asia, and America for its cool weather and tranquility. It is distinctive with a cultural blend between the Tai Yai ethnic group and Thai people as well as a community-based tourism experience.
Lampang is a slow-life city that can still retain its charm through the fast-pacing world. This is where a horse cart is still used in Thailand. Even though it is a small town, there is splendid architecture and a number of temples influenced by Lanna, Chinese, and Burmese to visitors.
Trang: It is located in the South and best fits those who look for a ‘foodie haven’, a quite beach getaway and marine adventure. There are a number of nice islands; such as, Ko Muk and Tham Morakot or the Emerald Cave.
In order to make you know more about the emerging destinations, we have a showcase of signature local products from these cities different regions. Most of them are handicrafts that combines creativity and indigenous materials, which reveals the story about those cities.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have taken action on the sustainability issue in the tourism industry since the TTM+ last year. So, we have tried as best as we could to reduce using bottles and plastic bags in our various events. Particularly, today is the World Environment Day. We would like to ask all participants to bring their own tumblers and cloth bags in order to save this earth together.
In addition, apart from the TTM+2019, we have another growing trade mart, the Thailand Golf Travel Mart (TGTM) 2019, which will be held for the fifth time in August. The venue to host the event rotates every year. This year, Chiang Mai has been selected, and the event is expected to see over 350 participants.
Before leaving today, there are many more interesting functions that we have prepared for you this year. Next, it will be the “Responsible Tourism Strategy within the Greater Mekong Subregion” a briefing by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office. Afterwards, at 3 p.m., we have TTM Talk. There will be broad range of ten topics in multi aspects of the tourism industry from professional guest speakers under the theme “Making the World a Better Place through Travel”. Please feel free to ask our staff for the venues. In the evening, do not miss and enjoy our Welcome Reception with the lit-up beach party theme at Alexa Beach Club.
Lastly, I hope that this media briefing will help you gain a better understanding of our marketing direction this year, especially promoting the emerging destinations to the international markets. It takes time and effort for these cities to be recognised and chosen by travellers. And that is why your support counts to reveal the ‘New Shades of Emerging Destinations’ of Thailand.
Thank you and sawasdee khrap.