Operators seek more domestic measures
Tourism operators are calling for more effective measures from the government to help reinvigorate the slumping domestic tourism sector next year.
Phuriwat Limthavornrat, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said the government needs to develop short-term stimulus plans for the industry. The key is measures that cover all types of local tourists, from independent travellers to group tours.
Mr Phuriwat said that by the first quarter next year, the association plans to discuss an idea with tourism-related agencies to focus on the "silver market", or tourism for the elderly.
Silver tourists prefer to travel in groups, can go on weekdays as well as weekends, and often spend more on their travels than the average tourist.
Mr Phuriwat said the association is piloting several tour packages for seniors in Kanchanaburi that feature health and wellness activities in communities, such as cooking healthy dishes and teaching exercises to the elderly.
The issue with past stimulus plans was the lack of participation from local operators throughout the process, making them ineffective in boosting Thai tourism, said Chamnan Srisawat, president of the Thai Federation of Provincial Tourist Associations (TFOPTA).
As more tourists rely on online booking, he said Thailand needs an online platform that provides tourism products like packages and transport.
Mr Chamnan said government agencies like the Digital Economy and Society Ministry should consider building an online platform for local operators or finding a startup to build the app.
The association continues to educate members about digital marketing in order to expand their reach to potential customers. This year the TFOPTA has partnered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Singapore-based e-commerce platform Shopee to promote domestic tourism digitally.
Next year, the TFOPTA aims to push for the implementation of the online channel.
In addition, Thai tourism needs new man-made tourist attractions, which have become a new tourism trend in Southeast Asia, and can't simply rely on natural resources that are in need of rehabilitation.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry said domestic tourism rose by 0.6% in the first 10 months this year, with 133 million trips by tourists. They spent 890 billion baht, up 2.2% from a year earlier.
The goal this year is 160-170 million trips generating 1.05 trillion baht in revenue.