Thailand’s tourism revenue goal in jeopardy: Tourism minister

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Thailand faces an uphill battle in reaching its ambitious 3.5 trillion-baht tourism revenue target for 2024, as admitted by Tourism and Sports Minister Sermsak Pongpanich. Speaking at the Thai Hotels Association’s annual conference, Sermsak highlighted the current progress and challenges ahead.

“In the first five months of this year, Thailand has welcomed 15 million foreign tourists, generating 1.1 trillion baht. To hit our 3.5 trillion baht target, we need 36.7 million tourists, meaning we’re still short by 21.7 million tourists and 2.4 trillion baht.”

Expressing concerns about achieving this daunting goal, Sermsak emphasised the need for collective action.

“Although I am worried, I remain committed to pursuing it wholeheartedly.”

Sermsak pledged to address sector issues by collaborating with stakeholders, aiming for cohesive efforts towards the common objective.

The tourism minister also addressed the controversial issue of Chinese tour operators offering cut-price packages, which has drawn criticism for the potential monopolisation of Chinese visitors, reported The Nation.

Sermsak cited violations of Thailand’s Foreign Business Act.

“We will crack down on Chinese companies using Thai nominees to operate here illegally.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Thai tourism revenue to hit 3 trillion baht, misses target

Thai tourism revenue is projected to reach 3 trillion baht this year, falling short of the government’s target of 3.5 trillion baht due to economic challenges in key markets, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported.

As of today, Thailand has seen 14.9 million foreign arrivals, generating 709 billion baht (US$19.4 billion). This figure represents roughly 30% of the international revenue target of 2.38 trillion baht (US$65 billion) set by the government for this year.

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing in Asia and the South Pacific, highlighted that the most realistic revenue outcome is 3 trillion baht (US$82 billion), citing economic stagnation in major markets like China. Currently, flights to Thailand from China are at only 75% of their pre-pandemic capacity.

“The tourism industry needs additional stimulus to achieve another 500 billion baht (US$13.7 billion), especially in the Chinese market, where we have signed letters of intent with eight major tourism partners but lack the extra budget to fortify those partnerships.”

At the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2024 in Phang Nga yesterday, Chattan noted that of the 3.5 trillion baht (US$96 billion) revenue target, the Asian and South Pacific markets are expected to contribute 980 billion baht (US$ 27 billion). If the total revenue reaches 3 trillion baht (US$82 billion), short-haul markets are anticipated to generate 840 billion baht (US$23 billion).

Chuwit Sirivejkul, TAT Regional Director of Marketing for East Asia, stressed the importance of continuous events and activities to sustain market momentum during the low season. He pointed out that the Chinese market is currently slow due to students taking university entrance exams, resulting in only 15,000 to 18,000 tourists per day.

Tourism revenue

“The curve should pick up from July. TAT will organise at least two major events over the next two months, starting with the launch of a special edition of the popular doll Labubu.”

The limited edition Labubu is a collaborative effort between the Chinese government and Thailand, celebrating a 50-year diplomatic relationship next year. Pop Mart, the Chinese supplier of the famous doll, has designed a local edition specifically for Thailand.

TAT aims to use the doll as a mascot to introduce attractions, hoping to engage its large fan base of over 100 million people globally. Online travel agent partners like Trip.com and Tongcheng Travel will offer travel packages aligned with Labubu’s destinations and activities.

In July, TAT plans to collaborate with the private sector for roadshows in three emerging Chinese cities: Changsha, Xi’an, and Zhengzhou, reported Bangkok Post.

Chattan revealed that 79 Chinese agents have registered for this year’s TTM+, the highest number among the 425 international buyers from 50 countries. Business deals during TTM+ are expected to generate 3 billion baht (US$ 82 million). Chiang Mai is slated to host the 2025 edition.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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