The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to spur 80 million domestic trips in the first half this year as the downward trend in new Covid infections helps rebuild local travel sentiment.
"The TAT aims to tally 40-50 million domestic trips in the second quarter, which will help secure 80 million trips in the first six months and keep the goal for the whole year of 160 million trips in sight," said Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT deputy governor for domestic marketing.
According to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, local tourists made 28.8 million trips during the first quarter, down 67.5% year-on-year, with tourism revenue plunging 63.8% to 144 billion baht.
Even though the country was overwhelmed by the spread of the Omicron variant, local tourists still took 20 million trips in April.
Ms Thapanee said travel sentiment last month helped ensure people will continue to travel when the viral situation improves.
The TAT expects there might not be a low season for the domestic market in the second quarter.
Tourism campaigns like the extension of two domestic subsidy programmes will support the market until September, she said.
One positive factor could be more local meetings and seminars as travel confidence improves thanks to lower Covid infection rates, while new developments at tourism attractions in many provinces could create more demand, said Ms Thapanee.
During the rainy season in July and August, the TAT will highlight tourism products connected to natural resources, seasonal fruit orchards and wellness.
Those campaigns should help increase average spending per trip to 4,100 baht from 2,800 baht to reach the TAT's annual target of 681 billion baht, she said.
Ms Thapanee said the loosening of travel rules might benefit Thai tourists who want to take trips abroad, particularly those who have high spending power. However, the TAT will try to convince them to travel within the country by offering golfing, trekking and glamping (luxury camping) packages to attract high spenders.
She said the "workation" segment remains vital to support domestic tourism as the agency has promoted the "Workation Thailand" project last year, targeting corporates and agencies.
This year, the workation campaign focuses on free independent tourists with special packages to work and travel from anywhere in Thailand, said Ms Thapanee.