TAT aims to bump up average spending per trip
Thailand needs to revamp its tourism industry in the post-Covid period by accelerating average spending per head by 30% to offset the estimated 8 million arrivals next year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
"No more mass tourism. When this industry gets back on its own feet, Thailand should not be recognised as an unsafe place but be a 'sexy' destination which means we will provide safety, hygiene, environmental sustainability, extra experiences and focus on yield," said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
He said the downturn in purchasing power was seen in Thailand since before the pandemic as the average spending per trip by international tourists was down from 50,000 baht to 47,000 baht.
Next year, TAT will work on product development which will attract higher value, with the target to get 62,000 baht per trip in the next two years.
Meanwhile, domestic spending should be raised to 5,000 baht per trip from 4,700 baht as Thailand banks on the local market as the key to recovery, with the target to earn 700 billion baht next year.
In 2022, TAT expects domestic receipts to surpass the 1.1 trillion baht recorded in 2019 by achieving 1.2 trillion baht from 170 million trips.
He said after past crises, Thai tourism managed to bounce back very strong. This time will be the same, but it cannot count on numbers as the resurgence of the coronavirus will continue to hamper travel activities -- a dismal scene witnessed in many countries during this winter.
Speaking at 'The Covid and economic outlook 2021' seminar yesterday, Mr Yuthasak said although the government has relaxed entry restrictions for some groups in the past couple of months, Thailand recorded only 1,200 international arrivals in October, a far cry from at least three million per month prior to the outbreak.
According to a survey by 29 TAT overseas offices, tourists said they will most likely take outbound trips by the next summer when the virus situation improves.
Some of them want to take long-haul trips after the extended monotony of the lockdown period.
Mr Yuthasak said the tourism industry now has to rely on the domestic market in the long run. The local market passed the lowest point in April and May, which saw hotels' average occupancy plunge to 2% and 3%, respectively.
To avoid losses, each hotel should achieve at least a 28% occupancy. The domestic stimulus campaign which commenced in July helped raise the nationwide rate to 27% in September before reaching 34% in October.
However, when focusing on each destination, there are many destinations that cannot reap the windfall, particularly those that depend largely on the international market, such as Phuket.
During the first 10 months of this year, 65 million local trips have been made. In October, the number reached its peak during the pandemic period at 15 million trips.