Instead, the focus will be on less-developed tourism areas, Director of the Phuket-TAT office Chanchai Doungjit revealed yesterday.
“We will not be promoting tourism centers that are already well-established. Instead, we will be promoting other popular destinations nearby, such as Phang Nga and Krabi. Similarly, we will be promoting Chiang Rai instead of Chiang Mai,” Mr Chanchai said at a meeting at Provincial Hall (map here).
“This will give popular destinations such as Phuket time to develop their infrastructure and fix some problems, such as water pollution, traffic jams and public transportation,” Mr Chanchai explained.
“Consequently, we do not expect the number of visitors to Phuket to increase next year, as any growth in the number of visitors to Thailand will be due to tourists visiting less well-known destinations instead,” he added.
The move to divert any potential tourism growth in Phuket is designed not only to promote other regions, but to allow the island to focus on “upgrading” the quality of visitors to the luxury market, he said.
“By doing this we can generate more income based on the same number of visitors. At the same time, nearby destinations can generate more income from visitors who travel there instead of coming to Phuket,” said Mr Chanchai.
“The main tourism centers will be promoted again during the 2016 campaign,” he added.
The slogans for the 2014 TAT promotional campaign are “Amazing Thailand: Happiness you can share” and “Fall in love Thailand”.
A plan to generate 2.2 trillion baht of revenue from tourism by 2015, when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will come into effect, is based on developing the theme of “Higher Revenue Through Thainess”.
The target numbers for 2014 were set by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, with about two-thirds of the revenue being generated from foreign tourists and the rest created by the domestic market, said Mr Chanchai.
“The plan to hit those numbers focuses on Thai traditional culture, festivals, way of life and Thai experience,” Mr Chanchai said.
In 2014 the plan will target those interested in weddings and honeymoons, medical tourism and community-based tourism.
“At wedding fairs abroad, we will promote traditional Thai wedding ceremonies. We will also hold familiarization tours so travel agents can experience Thailand first-hand, ” Mr Chanchai said.
“For medical tourism, the TAT plans to promote traditional Thai remedies and treatments, as well as spa services,” he said.
Thailand’s main competition for the medical tourism market is India, Singapore and South Korea.
“We will contact insurance agents and companies in other countries, inviting them to come and inspect the facilities and services available in Thailand,” Mr Chanchai said.
Mr Chanchai explained to those at the meeting that he felt secure in Thailand’s footing for community-based tourism. Nonetheless, the TAT will promote homestay packages and tours that highlight village life in Thailand.
One of the domestic campaigns geared to bolster low-season tourism is “Fly Me To The South”, which is promoting discounted flights and hotel prices for Surat Thani, Haad Yai, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Krabi and Phang Nga from July to September.
Another campaign to be launched is the “Big Bike Riding South”, promoting road tours through Songkhla, Surat Thani, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket.
The last campaign geared toward the domestic market highlighted by Mr Chanchai was “Let’s Go South”, which is an online campaign promoting cultural centers.
— Saran Mitrarat
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