As part of their plan, the agency will focus marketing many Sukhumvit hotel and other Thai destinations on young tourists from Japan and India, female travellers from Indonesia, Muslim tourists from Malaysia and the high-end market from Vietnam. Moving to niche markets is part of the TAT’s new strategy to spread visitors to the Kingdom’s major cities into the secondary tourist destinations and promoting weekday tourism.
TAT Governor YuthasakSupasorn, stated that the agency recently opened a new office in Fukuoka, Japan in order to capitalise on the high-potential markets in the prefectures in the southern reaches of the country, like Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Ehime, and surrounding areas.
Fukuoka is the largest city on Kyushu Island, and is home to the primary business centre in the region, as well as the largest international airport in the area, which direct flights linking to Bangkok going to and from the airport daily. Other flights that commonly go through the airport are direct flights between Bangkok and Okinawa by Peach Air, as well as charter flights between Bangkok and certain provinces in Kyushu and Chugoku.
A two-year cooperation between the TAT and the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation was signed earlier in February 2018 in order to promote tourism between the two countries.
Mr. Yuthasak said that the TAT will work with Japan’s High School Golf Association to organise trips by local tour operators in Japan to Thailand to more than just the capital and many a Sukhumvit hotel, with the aim of bringing in more visitors from Southern Japan.Younger generations have become high-potential markets, alongside special interest groups, like divers and marathon runners.
In 2017, Thailand received 1.54 million visitors from Japan, which generated 67.5 billion baht, an annual increase of 7.28% and 9.67%, respectively. Japanese tourists to the Kingdom spend 5,353 baht every day during their visit, on average, with the average stay at about eight days long.
In January to October 2018, Japanese visitors to Thailand reached 1.35 million, which amounts to about 56.7 billion baht in generated tourism income.
In 2018, Japanese tourists to Thailand are expected to go up by 7.52%, up to 1.63 million, which would generate an estimated 73.4 billion baht in tourism income, a year-on-year increase of 9.01%. For 2019, the TAT has targeted a total arrival number of 1.68 million Japanese visitors, which would generate an estimated 77.5 billion baht.
Other niche targets that the TAT are aiming for are the Indian market, the Indonesian female traveller market, and the Muslim Malaysian market.
TAT Mumbai Director CholadaSiddhivarn says that the Indian market is growing significantly thanks to increasing air connections with India’s secondary cities, with him saying that the sheer diversity in geography, culture, and ethnicity in the country representing a huge opportunity due to the numerous holidays celebrated by different states and religious groups.
TAT Jakarta Director BusakornPrommanot says that the recent 35% increase in female Indonesian travellers heading to Thailand was a sign of the importance of the fairer sex in choosing destinations, which is a big opportunity for the agency. The gender ratio of Indonesia visitors has shifted from 45:55 female to male in 2013, to 57:43 in 2016.