TAT Deputy Governor Tanes Petsuwan, in charge of International Marketing for overseas markets, tells how he sees European markets and how to manage the fast rise of Chinese travellers to Thailand. The conversation took place during the recently hosted Thailand Travel Mart (TTM+) in Pattaya.
No double talk for Tanes Petsuwan. TAT Deputy Governor met media in a very casual lunch to talk about the evolution of tourism. And he answered frankly to questions regarding the evolution of tourism to Thailand and about the choice of Pattaya.
Answering over TAT strategy towards Europeans, Mr. Petsuwan praised the market. “Europe is a long-standing market for Thailand with many European travellers being repeaters and having a good knowledge of our country. Europeans generally are not scared to venture and explore new destinations and have an authentic experience. Our new campaign ‘Open to the New Shades’ targets effectively this type of travellers,” told the Deputy Governor.
“The European market is also a high spender as they stay longer on average than regional travellers. We talk of 16 to 19 days in Thailand depending of the nationality of the traveller. European travellers are indeed the quality tourist we are targeting. Quality over quantity is TAT motivation although it is not always easy to implement as it needs also a change in mentalities at all levels of decision”, acknowledged Tanes Petsuwan.
Quality versus quantity brings indeed to the management of Chinese travellers. It is now the number 1 market for Thailand representing close over 27% of all arrivals. “We have some 11 million travellers from China now and it is true that it is often mass tourism”, recognized Tanes Petsuwan.
Is it then possible to curve China tourism development to Thailand.
“I do not think that we can suddenly not allow Chinese travellers to come to our country. That would not make sense. However, we must favour some types of travellers over others to increase the quality of Chinese holidaymakers. At TAT for example, we only promote Thailand in the biggest cities of the country such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai or Shenzhen. China large metropolises is where we can identify individual travellers looking already for a more sophisticated experience of Thailand,” indicated the Deputy Governor.
“There is anyway a negative side to concentrate only on a few markets. I believe that we should not depend by over 20% to a specific inbound market. If things turn wrong for one reason or another, local economies would really suffer”, told Tanes Petsuwan.
The Deputy Governor recognizes that some tourist attractions are now overcrowded. “We must then continue to spread tourism activities to new destinations or areas. By encouraging travellers to venture beyond well-know touristic places, we actually help to relieve those destinations from over-commercialisation and saturation,” he added.