In association with: Tourism Authority of Thailand
Thailand to “go beyond meaningful travel” in new campaign, as it targets 940,000 UK arrivals next year
Travellers from the UK have long flocked to Thailand for its vibrant cities, beautiful coastline and picturesque islands. Its warm culture and friendly locals have helped make visitors feel at home, and this welcoming outlook is what the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is putting at the centre of its new marketing campaign for 2024.
Next year, TAT wants to go “beyond meaningful travel,” a concept that was a focus of tourism promotion this year, according to Thapanee Kiatphaibool, governor of TAT, speaking at this year’s World Travel Market trade show in London.
“We want to make a lasting impression with a meaningful relationship through our communications,” she said.
“Meaningful relationships will be encouraging travellers to engage in a meaningful connection whether it is with themselves, local people, communities, nature or even with Thailand.”
The UK is an important source market for travellers, according to Kiatphaibool. In 2023, up until October 31, Thailand saw 617,017 arrivals from the UK, a number that is expected to reach 795,214 by the end of the year.
And in 2024, TAT is targeting 940,000 UK arrivals, according to Kiatphaibool. This will equate to £1.88 billion in terms of revenue.
“While this target may seem like a challenge, I’m positive we will be able to reach it,” she said.
This year, up to October 31, Thailand has recorded 21.6 million tourist arrivals. The top five source markets for international visitors are Malaysia, China, South Korea, India and Russia.
And recovery from the dip experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic is well on its way, with TAT expecting to see about 80% of the overall tourism revenue generated in 2019 by the end of this year, which would equate to £52.88 billion.
Wellness and sustainability
While both repeat travellers and first-timers are encouraged to visit Thailand, those interested in wellness are among the travellers that the Tourism Authority of Thailand is looking to attract, along with luxury travellers.
Kiatphaibool emphasised Thailand’s “immunity-booster vacations”, where detox programmes for the mind, body and spirit are available in some of the remote regions of the country. Thailand also has its fair share of adventure, particularly along the coast, which also aids with wellness.
While Thailand is implementing initiatives to attract more tourists, it’s important this is done in a sustainable way.
“Thailand has been positioning as a sustainable and responsible tourism destination for many, many years,” said Kiatphaibool. “We have been continuously developing… our tourism ecosystem to be more sustainable and responsible.”
As a result, the country has developed a Star (Sustainable Tourism Acceleration Rating) system that incorporates the United Nations’ Sustainable Travel Goals (STGs). Tourism businesses across Thailand can achieve three, four or five stars under this programme, depending on how many STGs they correspond with.
Businesses that achieve a three-star certification need to meet three STGs, those that gain four stars need to meet nine STGs, and five stars equates to 12 STGs.
“We currently have more than 300 businesses with a Star certificate in Thailand,” said Kiatphaibool. “I and TAT aim to get 80% of all tourism stakeholders [a Star certification] by 2025, which will upgrade the quality as a whole.”
To find out more about TAT and its sustainability initiatives, visit tourismthailand.org
PICTURES: Tourism Authority of Thailand
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