The Thailand page on the French travel website www.routard.com has crossed the seven million viewers mark, making it the top-ranked page amongst all the featured destinations, according to the website publisher Mr Philippe Damiani.
Mr Damiani informed the Paris office of the TAT that the seven million mark was crossed on February 14, 2012, making Thailand the most popular destination to be viewed by prospective travellers accessing his website.
Thailand led other destinations; such as, New York (5.2 million pageviews), Corsica Island (4.8 million), India (4.4 million) and Morocco (4.2 million).
“There is no doubt, that the Land of Smiles is popular among French travellers and backpackers,” Mr Damiani said. “It is not difficult to see why. Thailand has many attractions that appeal to French travellers – its rich culture and heritage attractions in the North, the beautiful beaches of the South, a bustling capital with its excellent shopping, an unparalleled sense of hospitality and delicious food … all at unbeatable prices. What could be better?”
Since the website was setup in 2001, it has crossed 301 million visitors, at an average of 1.9 million visitors per month.
France is the fourth biggest source of visitor arrivals from Europe, after Russia, UK and Germany. In 2011, French visitor arrivals totalled 509,225, an increase of 10.30% over 2010. In January 2012, French visitors totalled 73,908, up 2.24% over January 2011.
French citizens can obtain a 30-day visa-free facility at major international gateways. As of March 2012, there are 19 weekly direct flights linking Thailand and 2 major cities in France operated by 3 airlines, Air France, Thai Airways International and Air Austral (from Reunion island, a French overseas region in the Indian ocean). Other airlines also bring visitors to Thailand through other points; such as, Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc.
In 2010, French visitors to Thailand stayed an average of 14.80 days, with an average daily expenditure of 3,558 Baht (US$116.82) per person. This resulted in about 23.15 billion Baht (or US$761 million) foreign exchange earnings for the Thai economy.
The TAT market research brief for France shows that more than 38 million French people use the Internet and 60% of them use travel websites for planning their trips. There are an estimated 17 million Facebook users and 2.4 million Twitter users in France.
Research shows that there is increasing Internet penetration among the 50+ age group of the population. The growing use of smartphones is facilitating that trend, especially for planning trips.
The TAT also has its own French-language website, www.tourismethaifr.com to provide information about Thai tourism products, services and special packages.
This year, the TAT is planning to make greater use of online mediums for its marketing activities. One key project is to target more first-time French travellers via a campaign called “Fan de Thailande” (fans of Thailand).
It will also continue its efforts to attract upmarket visitors from Europe by participating in the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), December 3-6, 2012, in Cannes, France.