Travel agents in the Middle East have urged Thailand to promote more tourism destinations as most travellers from the region know only Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
They want to see other popular destinations added to the travel plans, said Patcharanee Somsamai, the country manager of Travelbullz.
"Popular sites such as Koh Samui needed to be marketed, as people from that region love luxury pool villas," she said.
Travelbullz is among several travel agents gathered for a familiarisation trip to Thailand from the Middle East market.
Yesterday's meeting organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is part of a promotion expected to increase revenue from the Thai tourism industry to 2 trillion baht by 2015.
Ms Patcharanee added the TAT and local tour agencies should make it clear that Thailand has proper facilities and services to address Muslim tourists.
Abdul Karim, director of sales at Omeir Travel Agency LLC, said some old tourism venues and infrastructure should be improved.
Thailand's medical and wellness services are very popular among Abu Dhabi residents, making them a top attraction in the region.
"Floating markets are their favourite places. However, many of them complained about the cleanliness of the water in the canal," he said.
Chalermsak Suranat, the director of the TAT in Dubai & the Middle East, said the authority has developed a few campaigns to promote other destinations, such as Bangkok and Beyond: Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin, and Ayutthaya; Pattaya and Beyond: Koh Samet and Koh Chang; Phuket and Beyond: Krabi and Khao Lak; and Chiang Mai and Beyond: Chiang Rai.
The TAT expects the campaigns will increase tourists from the Middle East and boost their average length of stay from five to six days per trip to seven.
The agency will collaborate with the Cooperation Council for The Arab States of the Gulf, which comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Tourist arrivals from the Middle East reached 470,000 last year, and the TAT projects 10% growth this year. Spending per head was 4,800-5,000 baht per day per head.
Juthaporn Rerngronasa, the deputy governor for international marketing (Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Americas), said medical tourism from the Middle East is already robust. Treatment costs in Thailand are cheaper than in other key rivals such as Singapore and Malaysia, while our hospitality and services are better than in those countries, she said, adding Thailand is a shopping paradise for their travel partners.
About the author
- Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong