Agency promotes festival agenda

Agency promotes festival agenda

Goal is to generate 10 billion baht in tourism revenue

Fireworks explode at CentralWorld mall during the 2023 New Year festivities.
Fireworks explode at CentralWorld mall during the 2023 New Year festivities.

The government is pushing Thailand as a festival hub, starting with 3,000 activities during the cool season in an effort to stimulate at least 10 billion baht in tourism revenue, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said despite a global economic slowdown, both domestic and foreign tourists are still keen to travel, prompting the agency to initiate intensive campaigns during the high season, mainly via local and international events, as well as offering visa exemptions.

On Friday the government, the TAT, the Tourism and Sports Ministry, the Culture Ministry, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the National Soft Power Strategy Committee launched the Thailand Winter Festival and Colorful Bangkok Winter Festival 2023, which aim to position Thailand as a world festival destination from November to December.

The campaigns cover soft power products, including cultural traditions, art, food, entertainment and sports.

Ms Sudawan, second from left, and Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, former tourism and sports minister, second from right, presided at the "Thailand Winter Festivals" event held yesterday.

Five cool season campaigns are scheduled to be hosted by the TAT and the Tourism and Sports Ministry: Loy Krathong, Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok 2023, Amazing Thailand Passport Privileges and Vijit Chao Phraya 2023, and Amazing Thailand Countdown 2024.

The agency maintains its revenue target of 2.38 trillion baht for this year.

As of Nov 7, foreign arrivals tallied 22.5 million for the year, led by 3.4 million Malaysian visitors and 2.8 million Chinese visitors, according to the TAT.

The eligible stay for Russian visitors was extended to 90 days from 30 to increase their spending per trip. The TAT is urging the government to consider extending the stays for visitors from other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States, such as Kazakhstan. Many visitors from these nations want to escape the cold weather, said Ms Thapanee.

Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said the ministry asked related authorities to enforce safety measures for tourists during this festive season, as more foreign tourists are expected to stay longer.

The ministry is also coordinating with authorities to increase flights between Thailand and India, especially to and from second-tier cities in India, to capitalise on visa exemptions for this market that last until May 10.

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said hotels are estimated to record a 75-80% occupancy rate in November and December, thanks to the year-end holiday and celebrations.

She said cool season events and visa-free schemes should help attract more short-haul markets, such as China and India. However, the growth would mainly be concentrated in major tourism cities such as Bangkok, with 4-5 star hotels gaining the most benefits, said Mrs Marisa. She said the visa exemptions have yet to fully benefit the industry, as there remains a deadlock in inbound flights, while tour groups are rebounding slowly.

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