TAT set to take a ride on roller coaster of love
Top 5 wedding and honeymoon spot eyed
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to focus more on wedding and honeymoon tourism this year, aiming to push Thailand into the top five for global romance destinations.
Tanes Petsuwan, deputy governor for marketing communications, said honeymoon products and services have been highlighted at Thailand Travel Mart Plus the Greater Mekong Subregion (TTM+ 2018), which is being held in Pattaya until Friday.
Unlike previous years, this year the authority is working to promote more niche markets to grow tourism revenue.
Mr Tanes said weddings and honeymoons is an emerging segment, particularly from overseas markets.
For 2018, TAT has set a growth target of 8% in tourism revenue from the international market, aiming for 2 trillion baht, with wedding and honeymoon tourism one of the priorities.
In 2016, Thailand received 1.1 million visitors who travelled to celebrate a romantic holiday, generating an estimated 60 billion baht.
For the wedding segment, over 104,000 people came to Thailand that year, generating 5 billion baht.
Honeymoons accounted for a bigger share, attracting 990,000 visitors and producing revenue of 48 billion baht.
Visitors from Asia ranked the highest, followed by Europe and the Middle East.
"In 2018, TAT expects to see growth of 5% for the wedding and honeymoon segment. Our goal is to promote Thailand to be among the top five destinations for newlyweds and honeymooners," said Mr Tanes.
Last year, Thailand was selected as the host country for the 4th Destination Wedding Planner Congress 2017 for the first time in Asia.
The congress, held in Phuket, invited 450 delegates from 65 countries. Thailand was also selected to host Amour Asia-Pacific 2018 in February.
TAT said Thailand won the "Best Wedding Destination" award last year from India-based Wonderlust magazine.
The country was also named one of the 20 most romantic destinations in the world by Brides magazine for its annual Honeymoon Awards.
This year, TAT continues to take part in major events, including the Destination Wedding Planner Congress, to reinforce the country's image as a world-class destination for the wedding and honeymoon segment.
The agency plans to categorise the romance market into three target segments: the pre-wedding market for high-potential countries like China; the wedding market for India; and the honeymoon markets for the Americas, Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea, he said.
In line with the plan, TAT will promote Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Pattaya as wedding and honeymoon destinations.
Mr Tanes said the authority has invited more than 100 travel journalists and writers from around the world to provide updates on the latest tourism developments at TTM+ 2018.
A large number of tourism buyers from abroad have stayed at beach resorts on the Eastern Seaboard and are scheduled to experience local tourism products after the conference.
Pattaya is attempting to rebrand itself as a high-end destination, offering family activities such as the Cartoon Network Amazon Water Park, Ramayana Water Park, Nong Nooch Garden and Kaan Show.
The city is also promoting itself as a top venue for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
"Pattaya will become a new industry and business hub on the eastern coast because of the Eastern Economic Corridor," said Mr Tanes.
The expansion of U-tapao airport is set to make it a new aviation hub, connecting the region to southern China, Singapore and the Middle East.
Last year Thailand welcomed 35 million visitors, up 8.77% over 2016. Total income from tourism in 2017 reached 2.7 trillion baht, up 11.7% from 2016. This year international arrivals reached 13.7 million from January to April, up 14% year-on-year, generating 765 billion baht, up 17.6%.