Thai Tourism Revenue Falls Short of Target, Stimulus Needed

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Thailand’s tourism revenue forecast for the year hovers around 3 trillion baht, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), falling short of the government’s target of 3.5 trillion baht. The setback is attributed to economic challenges faced by key markets, dampening international travel prospects.

As of June 2, foreign arrivals numbered 14.9 million, contributing 709 billion baht to the sector, marking only about 30% of the anticipated international revenue of 2.38 trillion baht for the year.

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing in Asia and the South Pacific, noted that the plausible outcome for overall revenue is 3 trillion baht. Economic sluggishness, particularly in vital markets like China, where flights to Thailand remain at 75% of pre-pandemic levels, underscores the challenge.

To bridge the gap and secure an additional 500 billion baht, the industry requires further stimulus, especially in the Chinese market. Although TAT has forged partnerships with eight major tourism players in China, limited budgetary resources hinder efforts to bolster these collaborations.

At the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2024 event in Phangnga, Mr. Chattan highlighted that of the targeted 3.5 trillion baht revenue, the Asian and South Pacific market aims to contribute 980 billion baht. Short-haul markets are projected to yield 840 billion baht if Thailand achieves the 3 trillion baht goal.

Chuwit Sirivejkul, TAT’s regional director of marketing for East Asia, emphasized the need for consistent events and activities to sustain market momentum, particularly during off-peak seasons. Despite a current lull in the Chinese market due to university entrance exams, plans are in place to revitalize interest with strategic events, including the launch of a special edition of the popular doll Labubu, symbolizing the 50-year diplomatic ties between China and Thailand.

TAT intends to leverage Labubu’s popularity to showcase attractions and engage its vast global fan base exceeding 100 million people. Collaborations with online travel agents like Trip.com and Tongcheng Travel will feature travel packages aligned with Labubu-themed destinations and activities.

Looking ahead, TAT plans to host roadshows in three emerging Chinese cities in July, aiming to reignite interest in Thai tourism. The agency’s efforts are bolstered by the participation of 79 Chinese agents in this year’s TTM+, highlighting growing interest from the Chinese market.

Business deals expected during TTM+ are anticipated to generate 3 billion baht, with Chiang Mai slated to host the 2025 edition of the event, underscoring the province’s significance in Thailand’s tourism landscape.

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