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HomeNewsInternationalThailand Sets Sight To Reclaim 80% of its Inbound Market in 2023

Thailand Sets Sight To Reclaim 80% of its Inbound Market in 2023

Few destinations could match Thailand in developing international tourism in the last decade. International arrival grew from over 15 million in 2010 to 40 million in 2019, a staggering feat that few destinations can boast of. And during the period not only India emerged as one of the key source markets for Thailand but for a few years Thailand even ranked as the top outbound destination for Indian visitors.

However, Covid-19 intervened and brought travel and tourism to a screeching halt as destinations worldwide lost nearly three years of tourism growth to the pandemic. Now Tourism Thailand is taking definite steps to recoup its share of global tourism pie. With an eye on recovery, Thailand has set sight to reclaim 80 of its inbound market in 2023, while also hoping of a full recovery from the Indian market. and the recently concluded Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2023 was a highly successful initiative in that direction.

The show was significantly bigger this year with number of international buyers invited for the show recorded at over 374 and more than 400 Thai sellers. TTM+ 2022 had invited about 250 buyers. The event this year was organized under the theme of ‘Visit Thailand Year 2023: Amazing New Chapters’ as part of the NTO’s strategic move to not only win back its market but also to transform Thailand’s tourism towards high-value and sustainable tourism.

In her interaction with TravelTrendsToday (T3), Sukanya Sirikanjanakul, Executive Director, ASEAN, South Asia & South Pacific Region, pointed that there was significant Covid-19 impact on tourist arrival until last year, however, the destination is confident of strong turnaround. She said, “Last year because of Covid we had only 11 million tourist arrivals in the whole year. But this year we are looking at 30 million tourists in 2023 and has so far already received over 10 million tourists this year.”

Sirikanjanakul stressed that TAT is looking at reenergizing every market. “Every market is important, from the ASEAN market, which is very close, to markets like India and East Asia. We hope we achieve our target for the Indian market and it also helps us achieve our overall target for the year,” she said.

Dwelling specifically on the Indian market, Siriges-a-nong Trirattanasongpol, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), New Delhi Office, pointed that in 2019, Thailand received almost 40 million international tourist out of which about 2 million visitors were from India. “This is about 5 per cent and that’s why India is a significant source market for Thailand. For this year we have set up a target of 2 million, but we still have some limitation of air seat capacity and also airfare is still high. So it will be challenge but we will try our best to achieve that target,” she said while adding that air capacity between India and Thailand is currently at 77 per cent of what it was pre-Covid. However, she further added that even if the seat-capacity is covered there is scope to enhance the load factors on routes between the two countries and further boost the tourist numbers.

Recovery Strategy

Sirikanjanakul pointed that TAT is targeting 80 per cent market recovery by 2023, 90 per cent by 2024 and full market recovery by 2025. As for the Indian market, Thailand is looking at 2023 and 2024 as resumption period where it is able to recoup its Indian market share. “For the Indian market between January 1 until now (May end) we have received nearly 600,000 Indian visitors but like I said, these two years will be resumption period where we would like to reach to our pre-Covid level of tourism,” added TAT Delhi Director.

Highlighting the importance of tourism economy for the country, the officials also explained that before Covid-19, Tourism contributed around 18 to 20 per cent to Thai GDP, and therefore are making it imperative to speed up the resumption. “We want tourism to once again to be a significant tool of economic development as before. Our private sector, together with the Government agencies, are doing everything to rebuild tourism and once again make tourism the significant contributors to our economy and jobs in the country,” Trirattanasongpol said.

Commenting on high-value segments like ‘Weddings’ that’s emerged as one of the key target segments for NTOs in the Indian market, Trirattanasongpol also drew attention to ‘Sustainability’ as the key focus area of TTM+ 2023 as part of TAT’s strategy to help create meaningful travel experiences. She said, “The behaviors of customer is very important, but for the supply side also I think it is very important as well. TAT would like to focus on sustainability that’s why my Executive Director here, her direction is high-value plus sustainability, So we are looking for some high value segments plus sustainability that’s why we created ‘celebration with care’, essentially meaning focusing on high value segments like weddings but let them do it in a sustainable way.” 






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