Bangkok, June 7, 2012 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) today unveiled Thailand’s largest travel & tourism trade exhibition, Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2012 (TTM+ 2012) at IMPACT Exhibition Center Halls 5 & 6 in Bangkok. The event, which runs from June 6 to 8, 2012, will play an important role in building momentum for the number of international visitor arrivals to Thailand, which is showing solid growth compared to last year.
At TTM+2012, over 473 buyers from 60 countries across the globe will meet with 381 sellers who are offering Thai tourism products & services in 12 categories. This year’s event is based on the theme “Customize your experience in Thailand” to encourage tour operators to offer their customers, both group travellers and free independent travellers (FITs), the opportunity to enjoy itineraries that are tailored to their specific interests when visiting Thailand. Thanks to the fact that Thailand offers an enormous variety of products and services that cater to all categories of target markets, travelers’ interests, ages and income levels, visitors can take advantage of the endless “value for money” possibilities that Thailand offers.
“This year, TAT is refocusing our strategies to attract a greater number of niche-market visitors seeking holidays and experiences more in tune with their personal preferences and lifestyles. Four of the key niche markets that offer considerable potential are golf, weddings & honeymoons, ecotourism and health & wellness. The weddings and honeymoons category alone offers tremendous opportunities for Thai tourism operators – at present, India, Korea, Japan, France, USA and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are rapidly-growing source markets for those who want to get married or celebrate their union in Thailand,” said Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the TAT.
From January to March 2012, Thailand welcomed 5.68 million international tourist arrivals. This is a 7.13% increase compared to the same period last year. In April 2012, the number of international arrivals at Phuket Airport grew by 15% while arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport grew by 7.2% compared to the same period in 2011. During the first half of May 2012, the number of tourist arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport was up by 10.71% over the same period last year.
The top five markets for international tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2012 were Malaysia (577,207 arrivals), China (561,083), Russia (408,420), Japan (339,788) and Korea (305,206). Visitor arrivals from the four Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries totalled 463,468, up 18.48% over the same period of 2011. Laos PDR topped the list with 238,114 arrivals (+18.64%), followed by Vietnam with 135,055 arrivals (+26.33%), Cambodia with 59,998 arrivals (+5.67%) and Myanmar with 30,301 arrivals (+13.07%).
“With events such as TTM+2012 encouraging an increase in the number of international tourist arrivals by highlighting all that Thailand has to offer, revenue growth from international tourists should show a 9% increase compared to last year. This will help the Thai tourism sector to meet the revenue generation target of 766 billion baht – an important contribution to the country’s economy,” added Governor Suraphon.
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the Kingdom’s 2011 tourism performance helped Thailand move up one place to 11th in the ranks of the world’s top destinations by international tourism receipts. Thailand was also among five global destinations whose international tourism receipts in 2011 grew by US$5 billion or more in absolute terms, with income rising by $6.2 billion to a record $26.3 billion.
The annual TTM+ event, which also highlight’s Thailand’s role as a travel hub for the GMS, will play an increasingly important role as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which will come into effect in 2015, approaches. One of Thailand’s major advantages is its geographical location at the heart of Southeast Asia. The trade and services liberalisation that will come with the AEC will boost people movements through and within the 10-member ASEAN grouping. In terms of travel to the GMS countries, the recent opening up of Myanmar will also benefit Thailand due to the two countries’ close connections by air, land and sea.
“A new marketing strategy has just been approved by the ASEAN NTOs’ Tourism Marketing and Communication Working Group, which Thailand is proud to be chairing for 2011-2012. This strategy identifies the relevant products and target markets, charts specific short-term and long-term strategies and identifies ways to execute them via adequate funding, communications channels and measurement indicators. TTM+ 2012, which brings together buyers from the throughout the region, is a great way to highlight Thailand’s tourism products and services while forging stronger links with our neighbouring travel destinations,” concluded TAT Governor Suraphon.