Thailand: Second tier more than second best

  • After promoting second-tier provinces for two years, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) vows to spend another two years proving that those locations farther afield are worth a visit.
  • The TAT kick-started its campaign to promote less-popular destinations with 24 provinces in the first phase in 2015, under the “Hidden Gems” project, before expanding to 55 provinces in FY17/18 to comply with the Finance Ministry’s tax break for tourism spending.
  • The government anticipated that the effort would inject tourism revenue into rural areas, narrowing income disparity.
  • But Thai tourists were not particularly interested in the tax break, according to a survey by the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) and Google in 2018, with a small number of taxpayers taking advantage of the incentive.
  • The TAT currently has an ambition to push domestic travel within the 55 provinces in 2019 to 19.4 million trips.
  • Mr Yuthasak said he hoped the strength of second-tier provinces would help make the domestic market a major source of tourism revenue, accounting for 35% of the industry.
  • “Transport is the key to success,” he said. “Recently, some airlines had to cease operations to second-tier cities because of weak demand. Usually, low-cost carriers must make a quick decision to maintain or discontinue an unprofitable route.”
  • The TAT insists on continuing to extend support despite the lukewarm response to the tax perk for travellers and the slow pace of infrastructure development.
  • To support the tourism sector, the TAT will introduce a fresh mechanism from Oct 19.
  • On the occasion of the TAT’s 60th anniversary celebration, the organisation is pushing the “60 Happiness Routes Around Thailand” campaign.
  • Mr Yuthasak said all routes must be practical for Thai travellers, which means they’re ready to embrace tourists with attractions, facilities and promotions.
  • The routes will be divided into three different seasons to serve year-round excursions. All of them will be classified by the preferences of diverse targets, such as the young generation, senior citizens, families, couples, and meeting and incentive groups.
  • Noppadon Pakprot, deputy governor for domestic marketing, said the TAT is already in talks with transport counterparts such as airlines, the State Railway of Thailand and petrol stations. They will work together to offer travellers a seamless experience at new destinations in the 55 provinces.

External Link :