Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, delivered the following speech at the Thailand Briefing Networking Lunch on 6 November 2017 (during the WTM 2017)
Sawasdee khrap and good afternoon, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you all for being here today.
It is always good to be back with our friends and colleagues at the World Travel Market, London. The show gets bigger and better by the year, a true reflection of the energy, dynamism and creativity of our vibrant travel industry. Thailand is proud to have participated from the very first WTM in 1980 and maintains one of the largest representations.
This year, the Thai pavilion bears the theme of our latest campaign, “Open to the New Shades”. Visitors to the Thai pavilion will find our new marketing campaign reflected in some superb handicrafts, especially designed by the Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand or SACICT. These include Ko Kret (เกาะเกร็ด) pottery, Benjarong and Sukhothai silverware. We believe that the Thai pavilion will draw attention from international buyers every year as always. Thailand will still pay more attention to the UK market through the WTM.
Arrivals and Tourism Receipts Statistics Overview
Ladies and gentlemen,
In January-September 2017, Thailand welcomed 26.10 million tourists, up 5.40 percent over the same period of 2016.
Some of the key trends are:
– China is now our leading source market with arrivals of 7.39 million visitors (+1.08%).
– Other top markets are Malaysia (2.49 million visitors, -2.70%), South Korea (1.27 million visitors, +15.17%), Lao PDR. (1.19 million visitors, +16.28%), and Japan (1.15 million visitors, +6.06%).
Market Profile (Europe and UK)
Thailand welcomed more than 4.5 million (4,556,774) visitors from the European market. Russia is the top market and recovering strongly with arrivals of a little over 880,000 (880,106), up 24.89 percent over January – September 2016. The United Kingdom is our second large market with more than 723,000 (723,438) visitors visiting Thailand followed by Germany with 595,000 (595,541), France with 549,000 (549,943) and Sweden with 213,000 (213,153).
The United Kingdom is one of our important European markets, and many British people know Thailand intimately. Indeed, it is seen as a rite of passage for young British travellers to visit Thailand and explore its charms. And as they grow, they return in later years to enjoy the kingdom again and again.
We are hoping to end the year with 990,000 UK arrivals. The high season is under way, and the flights from UK to Bangkok are pretty much full, By the way, the number of 1 million arrivals is still registered in my mind and our hope. In sixty days from now, we might celebrate this number. Thank you in advance for your strong support.
For many years, most of the visitors from the UK have comprised families, students, honeymooners, recent retirees and luxury travellers. More recently, we have expanded our marketing efforts to attract niche-market visitors in sectors; such as, health and wellness, green tourism and sports tourism.
I can assure you that our marketing efforts will also remain as robust as they have in the past.
Recently, the TAT London Office has undertaken joint marketing campaigns with key tour operators to attract more family travellers and first-time visitors. In the pipeline, key tour operators have already started working with the TAT London Office on many projects.
The 3 News concept
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our marketing strategy has always been to ensure that we have a good product that is marketed to the right customer segment in the right place at the right time. We aim to position Thailand as a preferred destination that offers good quality products and services.
Our primary advantage is our geographical location in the heart of South East Asia amidst a catchment area of three billion people, including the populations of China, India and the ASEAN countries.
In terms of accessibility from Europe or the UK, many airlines have connected with the region, so there is no shortage of potential visitor arrivals for at least the next 20-30 years.
Thailand is like other countries in the world where tourism is like a new player, but also a significant pillar. Even though Thailand is a well-known tourism success story, next year, we will still face many challenges. Our response to these challenges is “the 3News” concept. This means emphasising:
New Destinations: New markets to be tapped; such as, Canada, Latin America, and China’s secondary cities. TAT will open offices in Toronto, Canada and Sao Paulo, Brazil, to expand new markets of first-time visitors. For UK Markets, TAT London will focus on North England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
New Segmentations: Gen Y and millennials who are driven by digital social media and customer-focussed activities. And we are also focusing on lady travellers by highlighting a huge range of activities, special deals, discounts and privileges in Thailand for them to enjoy. These include health, beauty and spa services; shopping malls, dining and restaurants; recreation and entertainment and lifestyle activities.
and New Products:
– Gastronomy Tourism that highlights our culinary heritage.
– Luxperience: Thailand has seen the emergence of elegant boutique resorts offering privacy and seclusion, upscale restaurants on the rooftops of many of our 5-star hotels, quality spas and health centres. High net-worth individuals can also enjoy well-equipped yachts and cruises in Phuket and Pattaya to accommodate the need of island hoppers.
– Weddings & Honeymoons: Thanks to the emergence of beautiful new boutique hotels, we have seen an upsurge in the wedding and honeymoon market. To make the event truly memorable, couples can choose from a variety of ways to get married — on the beach, under water, in the midst of a rice field, or they can even plan their own style of wedding.
‘Open to the New Shades of Thailand”
The 3News marketing direction will be reflected in the new communication campaign called “Open to the New Shades”.
So what is “Open to the New Shades”?
This campaign reflects another kind of “Thainess”, which is the unique characteristic of the Thai people to welcome visitors from all around the world. Hence, we are promoting a genuine form of true “inclusive tourism”, which is especially important in this day and age.
The future of tourism will lie in the ability of everyone to design their own happiness, especially the emerging generation of young millennials. What could be more fun than designing your own trip with a personalised selection of “Mix and Match options” That means you are designing your own happiness. The “Amazing Thailand” brand gives you the opportunity to design your happiness all the time wherever you go in Thailand.
This new concept will be customised to accommodate every single target segment and market; such as, Luxury, Weddings and Honeymooners, Lady Travellers, Families and Gen Y. Twenty-seven TAT overseas offices are working with partners and tour operators to convert the campaign into substantial sales targeted at specific customer segments.
For all the guests here, from my perspective I believe that they know Thailand very well. However, Thailand has endless tourism destinations, products, services and activities to discover, so travellers will always find new experiences every time they return to visit the country.
We believe that the differences and varieties of “Amazing Thailand” can be found everywhere in the Kingdom. Visitors can discover new perspectives in existing attractions, or indulge in experiences in new tourist attractions. Each pagoda, temple and figure has a variety of patterns and shapes that change in line with their origins, roots and local beliefs.
From this concept we will look into the tourism products under this campaign. We have potential tourism products reflecting this; such as, Gastronomy, Nature/Beach, Arts and Craft, Culture, and Way of Life.
These are some suggested interesting products that are believed to let your clients understand what “open to the new shades” is:
– In terms of Gastronomy:
I can bet, nowadays if you visit Thailand you will definitely fall in love with our country and discover that Thailand is capital city of gastronomy and famous for its cuisine, especially street food and fine-dining, which foodies can enjoy 24/7.
Some of our restaurants are even listed in the Asia’s 50 best restaurants; such as, Bolan (โบลาน) / Nahm (น้ำ) / Le Du (เลอดู) / Issaya (อิษยา)
And also Michelin Guide book Bangkok will be launched in December 6th this year and Thailand is considered as the fifth country in Asia that the Michelin Guide Book has taken part.
Also, TAT has entered into a partnership with Gault & Millau to publish a bilingual Thailand guidebook supplement to be released alongside the upcoming Gault & Millau Belux 2018 edition which will be mainly distributed in Belgium and Luxembourg.
– For Nature and Beach:
Our country has some of the most outstanding natural sites not only in Asia, but in the world that seeing is believing including:
Samphan Bok (สามพันโบก) in Ubon Ratchathani province with the biggest rock reef in the Mae Khong River where you can witness the local lifestyle on the Mae Khong Riverbank. You can visit this place all year round
Hat Sai Dam (หาดทรายดำ) in Trat province is a Black Sand Beach, which is one of five places in the world caused by an iron ore called limonite.
Ko Wai (เกาะหวาย) is located 45 minutes away from Ko Chang in Trat province. The island has scenic beaches with soft white sand, an ideal place to swim, snorkel or simply relax and do nothing.
– Arts and Craft:
Throughout history, the Thai Kingdom has developed various aspects that have
come from the inspiration and imagination of the Thai people. These have resulted in
the arts and crafts that can be seen nationwide today.
Maiiam (ใหม่เอี่ยม) Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai province
The Museum of Floral Culture in Bangkok created especially for lovers of flowers, nature and those with an interest in Thai art and culture – an important part of the Thai way of life.
Lhong 1919 (ล้ง nineteen nineteen) comes from a Chinese word “ฮวย จุ่ง ล้ง” literally meaning steamboats. This is an old port from the reign of King Rama the third’s reign, which has been restored as an open museum about Thai-Chinese history. And this is the new pride of Chao Phraya River.
Wonderfruit Festival is where visitors can explore the adventure of sustainable living, which is built on six pillars of arts: farm to feasts, music, wellness and adventures, talks and workshop, and family
Our traditional culture has a variety of outstanding facets that are unique to
Thailand, and are reflected in our religions, sports, dramatic arts, etc.
Wat Muang (วัดม่วง) in Ang Thong province houses the largest sitting Buddha image in Thailand surrounded by paddy fields with the massive image dominating the area.
Wat Rong Sue Ten (วัดร่องเสือเต้น) also known as the Blue Temple is a colorful but peaceful temple located just north of the Kok River in Chiang Rai province.
And of course, Thai Boxing Class one of the most popular for those who want to know more about Thai martial arts.
– Way of Life:
To enjoy a real Thai life experience, the only way is to come to Thailand and live like a local and act like local, and these experiences can be found in every region of the country.
Farm tour or homestay in Thailand such as Ban Rai I Arun (บ้านไร่ไออรุณ) in Ranong province is a kind of interesting activity that will offer you the real experience of the Thai way of life.
Yam Khang (ย่ำข่าง), another style of oil massage at Ban Rai Kong Khing (บ้านไร่กองขิง) in Chiang Mai province
Night Markets especially during the weekend where visitors can go out for dinner or shopping, or just get together with friends in the evening.
Street art that fulfills the colour of the community around Charoen Krung Road is what you can explore while on your bike.
Even the festivals and food have different shades:
- Songkran Festival is different in each region.
- Not only Tom Yum Kung but also uncountable types of soups to challenge tongues from around the world.
- Uncountable types of soups to challenge tongues from around the world.
To make you better understand mood and tone about the products under Open to the New Shades concept, I would like to show you this VDO
Ladies and gentlemen,
“Open to the New Shades” will make amazing Thailand stay closer than ever to the customer and offer them a new experience that they will have never had before.
To all our friends amongst the tour operators here, I believe that all forms of marketing communications should play a role in driving business for you. The TAT overseas offices and of course TAT London will work closely with you to seek your support in communicating our teasers to appear in your channel to directly access your customers. We believe it will help your business grow in the right direction. Thank you for being our strategic partners in this effort.
To our friends in the media, over the next 12 months, TAT will step up its marketing communications material in line with the objectives to give greater prominence to unique local experiences of Thailand on the world stage. I wish this information will be shared with your readers and viewers.
And remember “Open to the New Shades” and discover the amazing diversity of Thailand!
Once more, thank you all for sharing your valuable time with us today.
Wishing you all the best at WTM.