Secondary Destinations at the Heart of TAT International Promotion

TAT, Thailand, strategy, marketing

Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor Marketing Communications at TTM+ Media briefing

Under the theme “New Shades of Emerging Destinations”, Thailand largest  B2B tourism show TTM+ 2019 (June 5 to 7) kicked off at Pattaya Ocean Marina Yacht Club, the biggest marina in Southeast Asia. The promotion of secondary destinations will help to spread the benefits of tourism to more local communities and help also to take out some of the pressure that tourism can these days put on infrastructure and destinations…

TTM+ is the biggest event for tourism professionals keen to see the latest development and products for Thailand tourism. This year, the event hosted in Pattaya is attracting a total of 351 buyers, 371 sellers, and around 130 international and domestic media.

As stated by Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor Marketing Communications, Thailand tourism continues to grow. “We welcomed 38 million of international travellers last year with China, Malaysia, South Korea, Lao PDR and India being our top five markets. We were also pleased to see that over 10 million tourists came from ASEAN alone. Tourism generated 62 billion dollars last year and we forecast a further jump of 12% for this year,” declared M. Petsuwan.

However, numbers of tourists do not matter to define TAT marketing strategy stated the Deputy Governor. The tourism is actually looking to turn Thailand tourism industry into a sustainable, social and environment-responsible activity.

This is not an easy task as Thai tourism has in the past mostly grow by favouring mass tourism. But times are changing and the rapid rise in arrivals -fostered by fast-growing outbound markets such as China PRC, India or Vietnam- redefine now the way to promote the country.

Thailand is getting green by banning single-use plastic and asking both tourists and toruism companies to provide alternatives. ” We encourage tourists to come with their own lunch box and cutlery when eating outside for example while local traders should use recycling material. Our biggest task is also taking the pressure from top destinations in Thailand by promoting new holiday places,” added Tanes Petsuwan.

Four years ago, TAT launched a first initiative by promoting 12 hidden Gems + 12 hidden Gems extensions. For the first time at international shows, promotion was done for places such as Lampang or Nan in the North, Chumphon and Trang in the South or Trat and Buriram in the East and Isan. The scheme has now been extended to 55 destinations with TAT assessing which are the most capable to look after international travellers. ” We evaluate destinations according to our knowledge of international markets, expectation. We for example know that islands in Trat province are immensely popular with Germans while Sukhothai attracts culture-savvy French while Chiang Rai stands now high for Chinese travellers,” he told. the emerging destinations generated last year some 6 million international trips, up by 5% over 2017.

New emerging destinations seen as capable to attract international travellers are Mae Hong Son and Lampang in Northern Thailand as well as Trang and Patthalung in the South. ” Large destinatiosn such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket complain that we neglect them. We actually put more budgets for emerging destinations but we continue to promote these places as gateways to other destinations,” stresses Tanes Petsuwan.

TAT is indeed moving into a niche marketing strategy. Certainly for the best of Thai tourism…