Domestic tourism spending falls short of target
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Domestic tourism spending falls short of target

Domestic tourism to miss B1.2tn goal

Tourists relax on a beach on Koh Tao in Surat Thani.(Photo: Supapong Chaolan)
Tourists relax on a beach on Koh Tao in Surat Thani.(Photo: Supapong Chaolan)

Domestic tourism spending is expected to miss the government's ambitious target of 1.2 trillion baht as local tourists are concerned about the economy and high travel costs, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Somradee Chitchong, deputy governor for domestic marketing at TAT, said the agency is confident of tallying 210 million domestic trips this year, exceeding the initial target of 200 million trips.

However, she said economic concerns during the first half should continue into the latter half of the year, making it difficult to reach the new domestic revenue target of 1.2 trillion baht, which was raised from the original goal of 1.08 trillion baht.

Tourism and Sports Minister Sermsak Pongpanit admitted during an Association of Thai Travel Agents' meeting this week that the remaining six months would be the most challenging period for the tourism sector to secure 3.5 trillion baht in revenue, up from 3 trillion baht projected earlier.

"We should be able to stimulate 200 million domestic trips, generating 1.08 trillion baht, but to reach a higher target, several factors must be taken into account," said Ms Somradee.

She said the category in which local tourists spent less was shopping as they were uncertain about the economic outlook, while many of them pivoted to online shopping instead after seeing the real products in the shops.

"Many tourists visited local shops, but decided to ask for contacts or operators' online stores to order the products after returning home. This method was more convenient for tourists and helps them delay purchasing further," said Ms Somradee.

Meanwhile, higher airfares have limited people from shopping during their trips, as they dedicated a larger portion of their travel budget to the airfare.

She said people still travelled, but have been tightening their belts during their trips as they did not have the budget to allocate more money to travel expenses.

Some travellers were not directly affected by the economic downturn, but negative news and the stock market slump led them to spend less on travel, said Ms Somradee.

She said those with sufficient funds went to countries with weaker currencies, such as Japan.

As the Tourism and Sports Ministry's expenditure data does not include transport costs from origin, only surveying expenditure occurring at the destination such as hotels, shopping and dining, overall revenue will not see tremendous growth this year.

To stimulate the market in the low season, TAT has supported this year's Thai Teaw Thai Fair which takes place June 27-30, targeting at least 200 million baht from transactions during the four-day event.

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