TAT takes to niche markets
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is striving for niche markets that still have purchasing power as it introduces health and wellness tours and spiritual trips.
"After a Thai Airways' special flight with a spiritual theme sold out within a week, we want to continue to create tourism products for Thai tourists based on similar concepts, but will adapt to younger generations and the festive seasons in the coming months," said Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT deputy governor for tourism products and business.
As the cool season approaches and Thais are still largely limited to domestic travel, the TAT aims to arrange pilgrimage tours in Thailand for singles who would like to pray for marriage.
Before the pandemic, there were a large number of Thais, particularly young tourists, travelling abroad and adding famous marriage god temples to their itineraries to pray for a successful relationship, said Mrs Thapanee.
TAT discussed such projects with tour operators and is gathering information on local temples or places that are well-known for these type of activities. The authority wants to make these routes available for both tour groups and individual travellers.
TAT plans to arrange pilot river cruises for single tourists with recreational activities on board along the way to Ayutthaya. This type of tour will help cruise operators survive through the hard times, as foreign tourists remain barred from the country.
The agency aims to roll out these programmes by the end of this year and continue the promotion through the early months of next year in the build-up to Valentine's Day in February.
Another segment the TAT is focusing on is health and wellness, which will be addressed via rejuvenating programmes and sports tourism. These tourism products are targeted at consumers who care about healthier living amid the global outbreak.
"The Amazing Thailand Marathon is confirmed for March next year. But as international athletes cannot cross borders, the total receipts and number of arrivals this year will be 20% less than the 7 billion baht earned and 30,000 participants in the 2019 edition," she said.
TAT also plans to partner with Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency in launching stargazing trips to the provinces during the cool season, such as Khao Yai and Chiang Mai.
"Groups with special interests have both the budget and desire for travel. This segment can help drive domestic consumption while the economy is stagnant," said Mrs Thapanee.