High season to push domestic trips to 70m
The flow of tourists the last two months of this year should drive the number of domestic trips to 70 million this year, while the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans more campaigns next year.
Kritsana Kaewthamrong, deputy governor for domestic marketing at TAT, said domestic tourism during the cool season may be softer than usual, but should be higher than previous months because of numerous public holidays, affordable hotel prices and higher flight frequencies.
Social distancing practices will set a new direction for tourism flows from downtown to suburban areas, resulting in higher income for local communities.
He believes local tourism sentiment is still unfazed by the news about local cases.
During the first nine months this year, local tourists tallied 52.7 million domestic trips, down 54.1% year-on-year. Those trips contributed 323 billion baht to the economy, a drop of 59.5%.
Average spending per trip dropped 14.4% to 4,149 baht, while the hotel occupancy rate closed at 28.6%.
In October, the average occupancy rate picked up to 34.4%, especially for hotels in the Northeast and North, where the occupancy rate decreased by just 2.2% and 9.96%, respectively, compared with the same period last year because of colder weather.
The TAT also plans to organise year-end countdown events in provincial areas. The possible provinces consist of Sukhothai, Koh Phi Phi in Krabi, Roi Et and Ratchaburi.
Mr Kritsana said the TAT wants to introduce the "Best Selfie in Thailand" campaign by creating partnerships with airlines and bloggers to offer tourism packages and remind tourists about forgotten destinations.
This campaign is scheduled to start around mid-December or January.
The next campaign, which is set to launch by January, will focus on caravans with car companies to offer cross-regional road trips. Tourist are to experience various types of tourism products along the way.
"We have to focus on highlighting more local identities in each area, making the tourism more sustainable rather than using singers or concerts to attract tourists," he said.
Moreover, the TAT is discussing with telecom operators offering free WiFi conditioned on tourists completing tourism-related questionnaires. Data from this project will be used to enhance domestic marketing plans.
The agency also aims to adapt products and marketing campaigns to stimulate more trips on weekdays, including targeting the elderly as well as hosting festivals.