Tourism operators are being urged to attract customers to the high-end medical, golf, honeymoon and eco-tourism sectors.
A survey by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) found that the four segments were worth more than 130 billion baht, with 7.98 million trips a year.
Eco-tourism had the highest value at 54.6 billion baht, followed by honeymoons and weddings (34.62 billion), medical tourism (31.12 billion) and golf (10.54 billion). The biggest market for eco-tourism visitors was Europe, followed by Northeast Asia and Asean.
The survey, which was conducted among 30,000 international tourists from April 2012 to March 2013, said tourism sites, activities and safety were key points to grow eco-tourism. For honeymoons and weddings, Northeast Asia was the biggest market, followed by Europe and Asean.
About 66% of respondents said beautiful beaches, luxury hotel facilities and good weather were key factors in choosing Thailand as their honeymoon or wedding destination.
The Middle East was the biggest potential market for medical tourism, followed by Asean and Europe. Key attractions included high-quality service, short queues and doctors' international standards. Check-ups, medicine and dentistry were the most popular treatments.
The researchers found that Northeast Asia was the biggest golf market, followed by Asean and Europe. High-quality golf courses, beautiful nature and the reputation of courses were important in making Thailand a golf destination.
Pongsathorn Kessasamli, TAT deputy governor for policy and planning, said the agency will use the in-depth research to create the right products and marketing activities to draw tourists. TAT has clearly focused on high-quality markets to upgrade Thailand's tourism sector, he said.
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- Writer: Chadamas Chinmaneevong