Ministry urges Thai tourism authority to set higher revenue target
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Ministry urges Thai tourism authority to set higher revenue target

Tourists visit Doi Suthep in Thailand's Chiang Mai province last month. (Photo: Narumon Kasemsuk)
Tourists visit Doi Suthep in Thailand's Chiang Mai province last month. (Photo: Narumon Kasemsuk)

The tourism revenue target for 2025 might be increased as the Tourism and Sports Ministry would like to see the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) set a higher target than the 3.5 trillion baht sought this year.

During the TAT Action Plan 2025 meeting on Tuesday, the agency announced a target of 3.4 trillion baht next year, based on a projection of 7.5% growth from 3 trillion baht, which is the agency's primary goal and the most likely scenario for 2024.

However, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said later he would like to raise 3.5 trillion baht tourism revenue this year.

"The target next year should be higher than this year. If the TAT has any concerns about the budget, it should ask for government support to reach that goal," said Tourism and Sports Minister Sermsak Pongpanit.

Mr Sermsak said the government is trying to increase the target to motivate all segments to exert more effort.

He said he would talk with TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool over the next few days as the agency brainstorms its 2025 action plan this week, announcing the 2025 strategic plan next week.

Ms Thapanee said the target growth of 7.5% would be based on the achievement of this year, which will have to wait until the end of December for the exact figure.

The TAT had earlier proposed a budget of around 12 billion baht for fiscal 2025, but this was slashed by half to 6.23 billion baht during the first reading of the budget bill in the House of Representatives last month.

The agency was allocated 6.6 billion baht and 6.43 billion baht during fiscal 2019 and 2020, respectively, which occurred before Covid-19 spread globally in early 2020.

During the pandemic (2021-23), it received 4.85 billion baht, 2.87 billion baht and 3.25 billion baht, respectively.

The TAT Action Plan 2025 meeting, which runs until July 11, has gathered directors from 45 TAT domestic offices and 29 overseas offices to discuss marketing directions for next year.

Pattanapong Pongthongcharoen, director of the Seoul office, said the agency aims to secure 2 million Korean tourists next year, an increase from the 1.94 million anticipated for 2024, which is higher than that of 2019.

While the number of Thais travelling to South Korea significantly declined, he said the situation hasn't affected the sentiment of Korean tourists visiting Thailand.

He said Korean tourists still see Thailand as a friendly destination and are eager to learn about the local culture, especially Thai food.

Many tourists also followed South Korean influencers who visited Chiang Mai, while several K-pop artists such as (G)I-dle and Seventeen chose to film their music videos in Thailand.

Thailand and South Korea have been co-promoting tourism between 2023 and 2024. This includes attracting Korean visitors to the Songkran festival and encouraging more Thais to participate in the Boryeong Mud Festival and Jangheung Water Festival.

During the first half, Thailand welcomed 934,983 Korean tourists -- half way to the 1.88 million for this year's base-case scenario.

The agency will boost travel during July and August, which is the summer season for this market, by attracting charter flights to potential destinations like Phuket, which still doesn't have direct routes, unlike Vietnam which has a more extensive network to many cities, not only Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

He said potential targets are those aged 20-40, who account for some 40% of outbound tourists from South Korea at present.

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