TAT launching a range of activities to attract tourists from Europe and Middle East

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Bangkok, 19 May, 2014 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is preparing to launch a range of tactical campaigns and special tourism activities for the Europe and Middle East markets to retain tourists’ confidence and ensure the growth of the country’s tourism industry, as part of the plans to combat recent challenges and setbacks.

Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, TAT Governor said, “During the beginning of this year, Thailand faced several volatile factors including the ongoing domestic political situation, but we are pleased to see that the overall European market remained strong and positive although the Middle East market turned quite stagnant. Given the results, we recognise the need for us to be even more proactive in our strategies and activities to make sure that Thailand remains a must-visit destination among travellers from these two markets, as well as other markets.”

According to statistics by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the number of travellers from Europe to Thailand during January-April, 2014, has been positive, recording a 7.63 per cent growth to a total of 2.7 million visitors. During the first four-month period, Russia contributed the highest number, totalling 823,233 visitors (12.32 per cent increase), followed by the UK at 341,448 travellers (5.75 per cent growth).

The TAT Governor said, “To attract more visitors from Europe, TAT will join hands with airlines and tour operators in launching special promotional tour packages as well as cooperate with online travel agents in introducing tactical campaigns via digital platforms. Also, we will be staging Amazing Thailand roadshows in various European countries as well as expanding the Thailand Fan Club network through a range of proactive customer relationships management activities.”

TAT’s Thailand Fan Club in the UK, Ireland and European countries has more than 120,000 members combined. The “fans” are kept constantly up to date with interesting developments and latest special tourism promotions as well as upcoming fun events in the kingdom.

For the Middle East market, TAT estimates that the number of visitors for 2014 to maintain the same growth as the previous year at 2.18 per cent. Among key factors seen as hindering the growth in the number of visitors from the Middle East to Thailand, beside the kingdom’s ongoing political situation, is the recent policy by European countries that allows Arab tourists to enter Europe without a Schengen visa. The travelling time from the Middle East to Europe and to Thailand is approximately the same or about five to six hours by plane.

In the first four months of 2014, Thailand welcomed a total of 171,323 visitors from the Middle East. To expand the number of visitors from the Middle East over the remaining months of the year, TAT will be partnering with Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways to organise three familiarisation trips for media and travel agency representatives in the Gulf countries. (Read more on: TAT to strengthen partnership with Middle East Big Three Airlines)

In 2013, Thailand welcomed 6.3 million visitors from Europe, representing an increase of 11.62 per cent over 2012, and 627,435 from the Middle East, up 3.63 per cent year-on-year. The kingdom recorded a total of 26.7 million tourists from all markets in 2013, or a 19.6 per cent over 2012, and estimates to meet its 2014’s target of 28.01 million international arrivals.

For the complete statistics of the international tourist arrivals to Thailand in 2013 and the first four months of 2014, visit: www.tourism.go.th

Contact Information:

International Public Relations Division Tourism Authority of Thailand

Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48

Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419

E-mail: [email protected]

Web site: www.tatnews.org