TAT eyes long-stay tourists
Source: Bangkok Post
The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Phetchaburi office is emphasising Cha-am and Hua Hin as destinations for international long-stay tourists, especially those from Europe.
Nongnit Tengmaneevwan, the office’s director, said long-stay tourists have gradually increased in both destinations, leading it to promotions for retirees.
In the past, most tourist arrivals to Cha-am and Hua Hin were locals, with 770,000 visiting the two beach resort cities in 2010, 70% of the total.
International tourists to these two cities in 2010 totalled 300,000, with half the long-stay visitors coming from Europe where the length of stay was between two weeks and six months.
A campaign to attract international long-stay tourists with local cultural events was launched last October and will run to March this year.
Thiva Kesavan, the general manager of Alila Cha-am Thailand, said the two towns still have room for growth in the tourism industry as competition in the province remains thin and the towns are not too far from Bangkok.
The hotel suffered in its first year of operation in 2008, with an occupancy rate of only 30%. Emphasising the domestic market it raised the average occupancy rate in 2010 to 55%.
The ratio of international to domestic guests changed from 70:30 in 2008 to 40:60 in 2010. In 2011, the industry aims to achieve an occupancy rate of 60%.
Mr Thiva said Cha-am and Hun Hin grew after the tsunami devastated the island province of Phuket and other provinces in 2004.
Alila expects its market share in the two towns to rise from 5% last year to 15% this year.
“We aim to be the leader in the hotel business in Hua Hin and Cha-am in terms of average room rate by 2013. We forecast our average room rate in 2011 will be around 5,000 baht per room per night, while other hotels at the same level should stand around 4,000 baht per room per night. We are currently top three in the market,” said Mr Thiva.
Apart from Europe, Asia and India will become a key market for the industry.
“We are targeting the family and wedding segment. We are using inbound travel partners, local wedding and meeting planners, selective media coverage and TAT roadshows to market for Indian weddings,” said Mr Thiva.
Thailand’s emergency decree ends, will help tourism and investor confidence
Source: Bangkok Post
Local and foreign businesses hailed the lifting of the eight-month-long state of emergency in Bangkok and three surrounding provinces yesterday.
They expressed confidence that the government’s decision would improve the country’s image, lift tourist arrivals and return investor confidence.
The government cited an improved political image and a less confrontational approach by anti-government red-shirt protesters as the reason for the move, but also warned of enforcing milder security laws under the Internal Security Act if political unrest emerges.
Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president for policy and planning of the Tourism Council of Thailand, expects international tourist arrivals will reach 17.1 million or increase by 8% next year with the move.
He is also optimistic that Thai embassies, consulates and overseas Tourism Authority of Thailand offices will publicise the news along with travel agents.
“Sensitive tourism markets like Japan and some Scandinavian countries will significantly recover next year. Japanese tourists will start to come back by the middle of next year. The government should use this opportunity to promote our tourism in these markets,” he said.
He added that accommodation and package tour prices would remain low next year because of the impact of the stronger baht.
Prakit Chinamourphong, president of Thai Hotels Association (THA), said foreign tourists would be more confident about travelling to Thailand as insurers can now reinstate their coverage after the emergency decree is lifted. Travel agents will start to sell package tours in Thailand again. The occupancy rate of Bangkok hotels is now 70% on average.
Payungsak Chartsutthipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said lifting the decree showed Thailand did not need any special laws as violent protests have ceased.
“This will create confidence among Thai and foreign investors,” he said.
Foreign chambers of commerce in Thailand welcomed the government’s decision, saying they are less concerned about political turmoil in the country.
However, the government must have security and warning measures in place to ensure protests do not get out of control and disrupt traffic and business as they did in the past, they said.
“It is a good decision, especially for the tourism industry,” said Junichi Mizonoue, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce (JCC) in Bangkok.
“We have been waiting for the government to lift the decree. Japanese tourists will certainly come back to Thailand.”
But he still has some concerns. “I don’t think the political problems in Thailand have been solved and I hope all Thais help fix the remaining conflicts.”
“Basically the situation is much better than before. I think Japanese companies are not much concerned about the protests in Thailand,” added JCC vice-president Fukujiro Yamabe.
“However, we would like to see the government keep us updated and warn us if something is about to happen.”
Nandor von der Luehe, chairman of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand, said the cabinet’s resolution was positive.
“I think lifting the decree is good for the country and the economy in general,” he said.
Although promises of political reconciliation have made little progress, the prospect of an early election should help ease remaining conflicts, he said.
Thailand’s impressive gains vindicate crisis planning
Thailand is set to record a historic tourism turnaround, proving that the strength of its brand image, marketing and product range can be a formidable counterweight to global, regional and local ups and downs.
Figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports last week showed that the country had 13.99 million international arrivals at all points of entry from January to November, up 12.27% from the same period in 2009 – and despite a 12.9% drop in crisis-filled May.
If this month passes without any further crisis, arrivals should total just under 14.3 million, higher than the 14.15 million in 2009 but still short of 14.58 million in 2008 and 14.46 million in 2007.
That would be a remarkable bounceback, especially as 2009 was dominated by the impact of the global financial crisis and 2010 by the red-shirt crisis. One major reason is that the Thai industry was already well-prepared as a result of recovery campaigns set in motion after the 2009 financial crisis.
From January to August 2009, when the global financial crisis was raging, arrivals to Thailand slumped month after month. However, when the combined force of the government’s recovery marketing campaigns and economic stimulus packages kicked in, arrivals began to climb back rapidly.
Arrivals in October 2009 rose 10.5% over October 2008 to 1.2 million. In November, they rose 26.5% to 1.36 million, followed by a 45.6% gain in December 2009, the highest monthly arrivals figure in three years.
The momentum continued into 2010, with year-on-year gains of 26.3% in January, 41.87% in February and 16.35% in March. Then came the domestic political crisis, which pushed arrivals down 2.1% in April and 12.93% in May.
Arrivals began recovering almost as soon as the political crisis ended, with a drop of only 1.14% in June. Growth rates from July onward have been in the expected normal range.
Three factors have contributed to these results: The emergence of Phuket as a strong backup destination to Bangkok, the growing role of low-cost airlines, and the rise of new source markets.
Figures from Airports of Thailand Plc clearly show that during the April-May period, visitors veered toward Phuket. International passenger movements at Phuket airport in April totalled 263,605 up 42.4% over April 2009. In May, the figure rose 66.5% year-on-year to 198,585.
By comparison, arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport slumped 5.6% to 1.99 million in May.
Overall, Phuket recorded 2.39 million international passenger movements in January to September 2010, up 50.3% year-on-year, against 23.8 million at Bangkok, up only 9.7%.
AoT figures also show that low-cost airlines were responsible for 4.79 million international passenger movements in fiscal 2009-10 (October 2009 to September 2010), up from 3.38 million in fiscal 2008-09.
Also to be taken seriously in future tourism marketing is the rising importance of “new” markets. For example, Indian arrivals have surged from 42,984 in October 2008 to 73,925 in October 2010. Russian arrivals rose from 20,420 to 62,351 in the same period and Chinese arrivals from 41,020 to 99,580.
Korean arrivals, which slumped from 59,713 in October 2008 to 38,512 in October 2009, bounced back strongly to 72,060 in October this year.
With the exceptions of Singapore and Brunei, arrivals from all Asean countries are also up, including from Vietnam, from 24,595 in October 2008 to 33,869 in October 2010.
In spite of border tensions, arrivals from Cambodia surged from 5,328 in October 2008 to 17,271 in October 2010.
This good showing was abetted by the recovery measures set in place last year, especially the extension of the visa-fee waiver. It also reflects the importance of rising regional economies.
One additional factor is the absence of travel advisories by countries such as India. At a function last week, Indian Embassy spokesman Jaideep Nair stressed that India had seen no compelling reason to impose advisories as the Indian travellers were savvy enough to make up their own minds.
He said he hoped Thai tourists would now reciprocate by travelling to India in order to redress the “one-sided” imbalance between the roughly 700,000 annual Indian visitors to Thailand and the 53,000 Thais who visit India.
Tourism Authority of Thailand woos northern China
Source: Bangkok Post
The Tourism Authority of Thailand plans more marketing campaigns in big cities in northern China to draw visitors to Thailand next year.
According to Sansern Ngaorangsri, deputy governor for the East Asia market, the campaigns would be held in Lijiang, Changsha and Hebei, as an ambitious plan to draw 1.2 million Chinese arrivals in 2011.
He said Chinese visitors’ spending was now close to that of other foreign visitors, estimated at about 4,000 baht per person, with average stays of four to five days.
Chinese visitors to Thailand totalled 885,545 in the first 10 months this year, an increase of 50% from the same period last year, according to the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
Mr Sansern said China’s strong economic growth and yuan appreciation had encouraged its citizens to travel abroad including Thailand, despite the country’s political turmoil from March and May.
Phuket and Samui are popular destinations for Chinese visitors.
According to Mr Sansern, the government’s policy to waive visa fees and to grant visas on arrival also played a vital part in increasing Chinese arrivals.
Mr Sansern said the TAT intended to ask the government to extend the visa fee exemption for another year beyond their scheduled expiration in March 2011.
In the meantime, he said the TAT would join with the Chiang Mai Business Tourism Association in a campaign to attract Chinese visitors, particularly from Kunming, using Asian Highway route A3.
The TAT opened an office this year in Kunming.
Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism shows better than expected growth
Thailand experienced mixed fortunes in the first half of 2010, with buoyant tourist arrivals in the first quarter giving way to a sharp slowdown in April due to a prolonged period of social unrest in Bangkok. However, the strength of the recovery until April led to surprisingly positive figures for the sector.
Data released by the Ministry of Tourism showed that tourist arrivals rose by 13.7% year-on-year (year-on-year) between January and June 2010, reaching 7.5mn. The regional market was particularly strong, with arrivals from South Asia and East Asia growing by 15.99% and 16.1% year-on-year respectively. Arrivals growth from the US, one of Thailand’s major markets, was lower at 1.9%.
Thailand’s high headline growth figure in H110 reflects a particularly poor performance in H109, when a combination of social unrest and the global economic slowdown weighed heavily on arrivals. Although arrivals slowed sharply in April and May 2010, they returned to growth again in June, suggesting that arrivals may continue to recover over the rest of the year.
Thailand’s prospects are improved by the fact that many governments have removed Thailand from their travel advisory lists following the end of the Bangkok unrest in May.
However, the poor second quarter will continue to weigh on prospects for 2010 overall, with BMI forecasting arrivals in 2010 at 14.23million.
Thailand still beckons as tourist destination
Source: Bangkok Post
Thailand will continue to be the most preferred destination in Southeast Asia in the next two years as it represents good value for money, says the Visa-Pata Asia Pacific Travel Intentions Survey 2010.
The survey of 6,714 participants in 13 countries showed that Thailand was the top tourist destination in the region for UK and Australian tourists.
Some 52% of UK respondents said they were looking to visit Australia, 34% chose Thailand and 32% New Zealand. For Australian tourists, 43% preferred New Zealand, 39% Thailand and 32% Singapore.
Somboon Krobteeranon, country manager of Visa Thailand, said the intentions of international travellers to consider visiting Thailand in the next two years reflected a positive tourism outlook after the country had put much effort into restoring travellers’ confidence after the unrest.
Travellers from the UK and Australia are likely to visit the Kingdom with their spouses or partners and prefer to stay at four-star hotels. They are also likely to spend more than US$2,000 per trip on average, stay 10-14 days and are willing pay more for good food, cultural experiences and exotic destinations.
Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor for international marketing at the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said the UK market generated tourism revenue of 42 billion baht in 2009 and the length of stay was 16 days.
In the first nine months of this year, international tourist arrivals were 11.21 million, up 13.3% from the same period last year.
High-season bookings by foreigners improving
Source: Bangkok Post
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and private operators see bright prospects for Thai tourism in the coming high season even though local political conditions remain uncertain.
Surapol Sritrakul, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), said bookings for the high season (October-May) had increased by 5% and total reservations would be 20-30% higher than in the same period a year earlier.
“Foreign tourists are gradually coming back, particularly from Asian countries,” he said yesterday.
“European tourists are still coming back slowly, possibly due to their weaker currencies. Almost 100% of bookings will go to the South including Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui.”
ATTA projects the number of EU visitors will decrease this year, making it difficult for the TAT to meet its target of 4.28 million from the region.
The TAT had forecast 4.28 million European tourist arrivals with total revenue of 233 billion baht, up 10.6% from last year, and average spending per trip of 54,600 baht, up 4.1%. In 2011, it projects the figure will grow by 3.9% to 4.45 million visitors with revenue of 249 billion baht and spending of 55,950 baht per trip.
Thawatchai Arunyik, the TAT deputy governor for domestic marketing, said the agency believed that although the weak US dollar and euro have been affecting the travel budgets of Americans and Europeans, Thailand remains an attractive destination due to its value for money.
Product prices have not increased and room rates and package tours are still cheap, so Thailand should still attract travellers from all corners of the world, he said.
Although the overall tourism business is recovering, price wars in some markets cannot be solved, he added.
Several Russian travel agents rent big lots of hotel rooms in Pattaya and Rayong for a year and re-rent them at lower prices, hurting the pricing structure and the image of Thailand, said Mr Thawatchai. Some nearby hotels have had to cut their prices just to compete.
“We can’t force them to stop doing this. The only thing we can do is ask them to show some concern for the industry as this will create long-term damage,” he said.
In the first eight months of this year, Russian visitors skyrocketed 92.4% year-on-year to 346,697.
Tourism in the North, meanwhile, is suffering because many Japanese have stopped travelling to Thailand because of security concerns.
Etihad offers Bangkok Airways tickets
Source: Bangkok Post
Free Bangkok Airways tickets from EtihadEtihad Airways is offering free round-trip tickets within Thailand on Bangkok Airways as part of a new promotion aimed at boosting its traffic to the country.
This latest mileage-redemption offer from the UAE’s national carrier is expected to attract Etihad’s global passengers and help to revive the local tourism industry.
Kicking off the campaign yesterday, Craig Thomas, Etihad’s manager for Thailand and the Mekong region, said the airline has seen a recovery in traffic between Bangkok and Abu Dhabi after a brief slump during the political unrest earlier this year. Etihad has so far this year recorded a 76% passenger load factor on its twice-daily Bangkok-Abu Dhabi service on Boeing 777-300ERs, each with a capacity of 412 passengers in two classes. That load factor is “slightly” lower year on year.
The offer of free round-trip travel within Thailand adds to an already rich array of benefits for Etihad passengers amid fierce competition with its two arch rivals serving Thailand – Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways.
Some 3,000 items, mostly merchandise, are included on Etihad’s mileage-redemption list. Among the benefits all three airlines offer to their premium-class passengers are free limousine transfers to and from Suvarnabhumi airport.
Mr Thomas called the free Bangkok Airways tickets “most generous”.
An Etihad passenger flying from Bangkok to Europe in economy class for as little as 29,000 baht round trip will earn enough miles for a free domestic round-trip ticket on Bangkok Airways to Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Krabi or Phuket.
Travellers in Etihad’s business class to European destinations such as Frankfurt, London and Paris via Abu Dhabi, at fares starting from 87,000 baht, are entitled to two domestic tickets.
Mr Thomas said the airline will con tinue to assess opportunities to expand its code-share agreement with Bangkok Airways for domestic flights.
Meanwhile, the executive said Etihad is not concerned about the recent spate of bombings in Greater Bangkok.
“Thailand has proven to be resilient from Sars, the tsunami and political disturbances, always able to bounce back in a relatively short period of time,” he said.
Etihad enjoyed double-digit growth in the first half of the year, with passenger numbers rising by 11% year on year to almost 3.4 million, revenue passenger kilometres up by 22.6% and seat factors increasing to 72.5% from 71.5%.
Ko Chang high season predictions positive in Thailand
According to The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and private operators, they have revealed positive predictions for this year’s high season.
In addition to TAT’s positive assessment of this year’s high season, Thailand and Vietnam have joint plans to boost bilateral tourism this year. TAT have recently announced the launch of the joint tourism development programme entitled “One million tourists in 2015″ at a press conference in Ho Chi Minh.
As most readers will have read in the international press, there has been political and security concerns in Bangkok, but the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) agree that this year’s high season will be significantly better than last year.
Suraphol Sritrakul, president of the ATTA, announced that bookings for this year’s high season had already seen a 5% increase on 2009, while reservations are up 20-30% higher than the same period last year. “Foreign tourists are gradually coming back, particularly from Asian countries,” he said recently.
Despite the ATTA summation that European and American travellers will be significantly down on last year, the TAT has come forward to suggest that Thailand’s position as a value-for-money destination will still see the Kingdom appeal to global travellers.
Here are some of the more popular resort suggestions in Ko Chang:
Dusit Princess Resort (from $120)
Dusit Princess Koh Chang is located at Bai Lan Bay. which has a total 96 rooms, villas and suites decorated in a contemporary Thai style with private balconies overlooking the garden and seaviews. Guests can spend time at the private beach with an outdoor swimming pool. The resort also has a spa and fitness centre. The restaurant offers all-day dining and the Reef Bar serves tapas. The Starfish Lobby Bar serves drinks and snacks and other facilities include a business centre.
Nisa Cabana (from $92)
Amid the beautiful Gulf of Thailand, Nisa Cabana Koh Chang is the resort for sea-lovers, harmoniously blending modernity with shady tropical trees, forest and a powdery white sandy beach. There are 42 villas, including 3 pool villas constructed in a village style clustered into a lush hillside. Nisa Cabana Koh Chang offers a selection of restaurant and bar with variety of cuisines. Moonlight Bar, an open-air bar, offers snacks and a variety of beverages. The Pool Bar offers poolside snacks and beverages right by the oceanfront.
KC Grande Resort & Spa (from $59)
KC Grande Resort is a luxury resort on White Sands Beach. Surrounding the resort is lush mountain greenery, a clear blue sky, a refreshing cool sea breeze sparking on a turquoise sea. This oceanfront resort offers restaurants with a variety of international, as well as traditional Thai, cuisine. The Horizon Pub has a live band Mand serves Mediterranean cuisine and a variety of cocktails.
Koh Chang Kacha Resort & Spa (from $54)
Koh Chang Kacha Resort and Spa is ideally located in the central region of the White Sands Beach. It is a beachfront resort with a great sea view and is a perfect place for those who love living by the sea with fine white sand and clear sea-water, The beach at Koh Chang Kacha Resort and Spa is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, playing or just lazing around. Each evening the beachfront attracts more people with some volleyball and football teams sweating out on the wide beachfront, courtesy of the low tide. There are 170 beautifully designed and spacious rooms, featuring contemporary Thai design and command majestic views.
Klong Prao Resort (from $40)
This resort is a true hideaway in a picturesque seascape around Koh Chang National Park, one of the prime resorts in the Gulf of Thailand. Klong Prao Resort has been designed to suit the serenity of the island, with real privacy and comfortable facilities. Here you can fully enjoy the longest and most beautiful beach of Koh Chang, which is well protected by surrounding hills, coconut groves, clear water and a beautiful coral reef. The lagoon is truly beautiful, with a restaurant overlooking it which serves a wide array of seafood.
New gauge better reflects industry’s contribution
Wednesday September 01st 2010, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Source: Bangkok Post
A new tourism gross domestic product index has been prepared to better reflect the industry’s large contribution from goods and services in the overall economy.
“The tourism sector plays a vital role in the country’s economy, but the industry for years has been without a compilation of national tourism income,” said Thanittha Maneechote, deputy permanent secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
The National Economic and Social Development Board has compiled national income data for 16 sectors including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, industry and transport. It also includes hotels and restaurants as well as services. However, the tourism sector covers a broader scope of activities from hotels and restaurants to shopping, retail sales, transport and health services.
Tourism GDP generally measures the total market value of goods and services that are consumed by visitors, minus the cost of the inputs used in producing those goods and services.
The NESDB’s tourism income study also covers food expenses for lodging, food and drink, guide services, entertainment, shopping, gifts and transport.
In 2009, tourism income both from foreign visitors and domestic travellers contributed 7.91%, equivalent to 715.98 billion baht of a gross domestic product worth a total of total 9.05 trillion.
When all factors are included, tourism income averaged 11,270.91 baht per head.
The southern region led the table with tourism income of 182.2 billion baht, reflecting large contributions from the islands of Phuket and Samui. The figure was 72.78 billion baht for the East, 58.83 billion for the North, 28.29 billion for the West, and 27.21 billion for the northeastern provinces.
The Central region excluding Bangkok generated the lowest income worth only 15.18 billion baht. Based on national income per head, the South again led with per capita income of 20,673.04 baht, followed by 15,969.63 baht in the East, 7,140 baht in the West, 4,998.83 in the North, 2,021.34 baht in the Central region and only 1,265.97 baht in the Northeast.
Based on provinces, Bangkok ranked first, generating 331.45 billion baht, followed by Phuket at 94 billion, Chon Buri at 47.82 billion, Chiang Mai at 32.6 billion and Krabi 20 billion baht.