The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is embarking on a raft of tactical marketing strategies to stimulate travel to the kingdom from European nations.
The aim is to improve the numbers of visitor arrivals in the fourth quarter of this year.
TAT Governor Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik said, “Europe is Thailand’s second largest source of tourists after Asia. And we are very pleased to see that our key markets, the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Eastern Europe, are all registering strong growth in terms of arrivals. We are committed to working further with these markets, and will continue to invest in our time, effort and budget to ensure that Thailand remains the top, long-haul travel destination for European travellers.”
To stimulate bookings and interest in travel to Thailand, TAT is providing support to large tour operators in Europe as part of the “partner on demand” campaign which helps to arrange special package tours. It is also promoting Thailand online via social media activities, as well as through a celebrity marketing approach, such as, famous German TV star Christine Neubauer who will do a publicity photo shoot in Thailand. In addition, a newsletter giving information about the current situation in Thailand, as well as new tourism products and services, is being handed out so people know what the kingdom offers.
Familiarisation trips to give travel and tours agents a first-hand experience of Thailand are also being organised. TAT is joining forces with Meier’s Weltreisen, one of the largest tour operators in Germany, to arrange a mega fam trip involving five travel routings around Thailand for 100 front-line agents during 2-10 September, 2014. TAT is also teaming up with Etihad Airways to host a package tour selling competition for front-line agents, which will offer a fam trip to Thailand for the top 10 winners between September – December 2014.
In 2013, Thailand welcomed a total of 6,305,945 travellers from Europe, representing an 11.60 per cent year-on-year growth. During the first half of this year’s, Thailand continued to register strong growth from key European markets at a year-on-year increase of 3.12 per cent. The markets showing strongest growth are France (4.54 per cent), Italy (3.64 per cent), Spain (2.34 per cent), Eastern Europe (8.84 per cent) and the UK (6.16 per cent).
The TAT Governor said, “The UK and Irish markets were slightly affected by Thailand’s political situation, but our TAT London Office reports an increase in flights being booked on Thai Airways International during August. Tour operators in these markets have also stated their commitment to promoting Thailand, and have reported no impact on numbers of bookings for the upcoming winter season.”
As for the rest of the European market, the number of forward bookings from Germany is positive for August and the TAT Frankfurt Office expects a healthy number of trips by travellers from Germany over the winter season. The Eastern European market is enjoying increased growth. Meanwhile, numbers of long-haul bookings from Southern Europe have risen by 15 per cent with Thailand being the top destination, according to Spain’s online travel agency – Atrapalo.
Thailand is fortunate in that there are plans to increase flights to the kingdom from Middle Eastern hubs. Airlines based in the Middle East are extremely popular with European travellers. Qatar Airways plans to increase flight frequencies from seven to 10 flights per week in November (Madrid – Doha – BKK and Madrid –Doha – Phuket)and Etihad Airways has launched a new flight (Madrid – Abu Dhabi – BKK) to Thailand in March.
Thailand is expected to attract over 6,238,774 visitors from Europe in 2014, representing a 1.35 per cent increase over 2013.