Thailand aiming for $90 billion in tourism revenues

The Thai government is confident it can achieve a 10 percent increase in tourism revenues next year for a total of $90 billion, with THAI International adding more high-season flights and Swiss Hotel Chain Movenpick predicting more Europeans will visit the Kingdom this year and next.

By rolling out new tourism promotions and packages aimed at attracting domestic and foreign tourists to explore new destinations and stay longer in the Kingdom, the revenue target should be achievable, Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the government spokesperson, said last week. Tourism income has already increased by 8 percent so far this year. In recent years, average annual tourism growth has ranged between 3 percent and 5 percent.

“Next year we will emphasize tourism which delves into the Thai way of life, in a campaign called Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018,” Sansern said. The campaign will launch in November this year and run through January 2019.

He added that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is asking each province to promote features and attractions that are unique and distinctive, and is urging provinces to form clusters touting their best destinations and cooperate with tourism officials in neighboring countries to link up with their best tourism attractions.

The spokesman said that the World Travel & Tourism Council has forecast that within the next 10 years Thailand’s tourism sector will rank in the world’s top 10 in terms of gross tourism revenues.

To achieve the 10 percent growth target, tourism officials will focus on promoting seven types of tourism: sports tourism, food tourism, marine tourism, wedding and honeymoon tourism, medical and health tourism, community-based tourism and leisure tourism.

Olivier Chavy, president and chief executive officer of Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, a Swiss hotel chain, said he expects to see Thailand attracting more tourists from Europe this year and next year.

“The prospects for European tourist arrivals are promising, thanks to increasing aviation infrastructure such as the new airport terminal in Phuket and the second phase of Suvarnabhumi airport’s expansion,” Chavy said.

“More importantly, I think Thailand’s political situation is stable. The country will be a safe place to relax in, and many international airlines are doing a good job offering direct routes from Europe to Bangkok,’’ he added.

Among those airlines is the national carrier Thai Airways International. THAI announced last week that it will increase frequencies on existing popular routes and add new destinations in East Asia and Europe to handle the expected increase in tourists during the coming high season, which begins in November and runs through the end of next February.