TAT to woo quality, big-spending Germans
EU slowdown seen as slight growth obstacle
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to draw more high-quality German tourists, who are not expected to have been affected by the EU's economic problems.
Despite the EU's slowdown, the TAT is confident that 68% of high-end tourists on the continent will continue to travel to holiday destinations including Thailand.
Germany is Thailand's third-biggest tourist market in Europe after Russia and Britain. The number of Russian tourists remains in decline due to the country's sluggish economy, while Britain's decision to leave the EU may affect its people's travel plans.
Tourism income from Germany has grown at a slower pace than the average of the European market in the past year.
The TAT predicts tourism income from Germany will grow by 7.9% to 56.9 billion baht this year but the number of German visitors is expected to rise by only 3.1%.
For the whole European market, the agency expects tourism income will rise by 9% to 486 billion baht. It is hoping for 6.24 million Europeans to visit Thailand this year, up 4.5%.
Although the German market will expand at a slower pace than the overall European market, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn believes Germany will be an important market to push Thailand to achieve its tourism revenue target of 2.84 trillion baht this year.
Of the total, 1.89 trillion baht will come from foreign tourists and 950 billion baht from domestic tourists. Foreign tourist arrivals are expected to reach 34 million this year.
Denduen Luengcheng, director of the TAT's Frankfurt office, said it had launched aggressive campaigns and was working hard to penetrate the segment of high-spending travellers.
The office, which oversees the German, Swiss and Austrian markets, is cooperating with agents that arrange expensive tailor-made tour packages for clients.
If this segment is reached, German visitors' spending per trip will rise significantly because tailor-made packages are growing fast in Germany, where premium travellers want trip flexibility.
This year, the TAT has worked with Thomas Cook Premium, a big agent in the high-end market, and STA Travel, which serves young German travellers.
Young travellers will not only increase the number of first-time visitors but also explore new destinations for other groups.
The TAT hopes to increase the number of first-time visitors because it knows that as many as 80% of German visitors will revisit.
It is conducting marketing campaigns in Cologne and Dusseldorf, where there are major universities and 60,000 students. It will use Singapore as an air transport base for marketing campaigns because the city state has flights to Dusseldorf and Thai destinations including Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
The TAT is providing tourist routes with several destinations for the German market. For example, the Phuket-Andaman route will promote Phuket, Phangnga, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Krabi provinces. German visitors stay 17 days in Thailand on average.
The agency would like the private sector to support its marketing campaigns in Germany. Operators should present interesting activities such as yoga and beauty treatment, it said.