LINE Hospitality Tech 2021 showcases technology for wellness tourism

LINE Hospitality Tech 2021 showcases technology for wellness tourism

LINE Hospitality Tech 2021, a major online event to inspire people in the hospitality industry, including those in tourism, health and wellness. LINE Hospitality Tech 2021 is expected to nurse Thailand's hospitality industry back to good health, while propelling the overall Thai economy forward sustainably. More than 240,000 people participated in this event.

LINE Hospitality Tech 2021 was attended by Dr. Sathit Pitutecha, Thailand’s Deputy Public Health Minister, who revealed that the country’s achievement, in vaccinating 70% of its population against COVID-19, was a major factor behind the decision to reopen the country on November 1st. According to Dr. Sathit, the date was deemed to be the most appropriate because it also assists entrepreneurs in continuing or resuming their operations in accordance with the “Living with COVID-19” strategy, which focuses on 1) maintaining people's discipline, 2) encouraging businesses to be responsible, and 3) increasing vaccination coverage.

Furthermore, the Deputy Public Health Minister stated that his agency has developed a number of measures to assist in generating income at the local level, one of which is the Medical Hub policy. This promotes "Wellness Tourism", with Thai herbs serving as major attractions in the planning of tour itineraries in various locations, enabling visitors to enjoy both local attractions and herbal products. The policy is expected to encourage herbal product-based community enterprises, while also reviving the local economy.

Meanwhile, Yuthasak Supasorn, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), gave an insight into approaches aimed at stimulating the local tourism scene. He said he believes that Thailand has already begun to recover from its low point, in terms of tourism revenue, which dropped from 3 trillion baht in 2019 to 300 billion baht in 2021. He believes that the time has come for Thailand's economy to recover. The TAT Governor emphasised the importance of improving the tourism sector so that it regains its "high value" and can be "sustainable." The TAT aims to generate at least 50% of 2019’s tourism revenue next year and 80% the following year.

Yuthasak also explained that the TAT tourism recovery plan's use of technology entails 1) conducting tourist-centric marketing campaigns, which use technology to transform businesses and increase the effectiveness of marketing plans. 2) focusing on high-quality tourism, which targets customers with high spending power, while highlighting unique experiences through innovations, and 3) encouraging investment in technology which creates business ecosystems and propels Thailand's tourism scene into the "Digital Tourism" era.

According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consultancy, Thailand's tourism industry will have fully recovered within 2024. It stated that there are trends that can be explored in the sector, such as 1) creating unique tourism experiences for Gen Y and Gen Z customers, 2) expanding medical tourism, which is gaining traction both locally and internationally; BCG predicts that medical tourism will grow by 13% by 2027, 3) utilising social media and digital technology, which are now playing an important role in consumer decision-making, 4) implementing environmentally friendly technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR), while emphasising cleanliness and hygiene, and  5) establishing the "Hotel+" concept, which is the collaboration involving various businesses in transforming accommodations into one-stop tourism hubs and providing added value, other than accommodation, such as co-working spaces, wellness centres and shopping malls, to name just a few.

Also attending the event was Jiraporn Khaosawad, Acting Chief Executive Officer and President of PTT Oil and Retail Business (OR), who shared her experience in converting the business model of the company through its alliances. The undertaking entails transforming OR's fuel retailing business, into an "Energy Solution Ecosystem", and its hospitality business into a "One-Stop Solution Ecosystem", which combines food and beverage (F&B) and wellness services into a single hub. She stated that OR intends to use technology to integrate both ecosystems. This conversion necessitates change from the ground up, from infrastructure to operations, with technology serving as a critical tool.

One of the event’s highlights was the “PANEL TALKS: THE ARRIVAL OF TRAVELLERS POST-PANDEMIC”, during which representatives from marketing organisations such as Mindshare, Bangkok Writer & Partners, and wellness groups such as Rama 9 Hospital, offered their insights on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their overall business, in terms of revenues and marketing expenses. The pandemic forced the companies to switch to online communication channels. An increase in "soft power", which refers to influencers' ability to persuade others, was also noted. The panel acknowledged the growing use of digital media, to reach out to hospital customers. Additionally, panellists discussed interesting trends in the “new normal” era, as well as techniques for reaching customers at this time. They also recognised the difficulties in developing a tourism campaign this year. So, they redefined the term "tourism" to “happiness’. In order to accomplish this, people are being invited to take vacations which will make them happy. It's also critical to provide accurate information about the government's various tourism and economic stimuli. They also emphasised the importance of collaborating with partners, to improve communication with customers. According to the panel, using digital technology can help businesses grow, and "social commerce" plays an important role in promoting spending, which leads to a growth in tourism.

The event also included talks on other fascinating topics, such as perspectives on and approaches to implementing digital technology, to support the growth of hospitality businesses. The discussions focused on expanding directions, important tourism business trends, examples of smart city transformations and much more. Concerning medical and wellness businesses, the development of "Healthtech" and new communication channels, such as "LINE OpenChat", which has evolved into a digital communication centre used by many medical organisations, were discussed.

Dr. Phichet Rerkpreecha, Chief Executive Officer at LINE Company (Thailand), discussed the significance of hosting the LINE Hospitality Tech 2021 event, stating that "the government's decision to reopen the nation, with an estimated number of visitors being over a million, will most likely result in a positive outcome. It is a chance to revitalise the Thai economy. As a result, we decided to host the "LINE Hospitality Tech 2021" event, which will present environmental factors related to digital technology in the tourism and wellness sectors. We believe that digital technology is an important factor that entrepreneurs should seriously consider incorporating into their operations, in order to steer their businesses in the right direction and work together to repair the Thai economy.”

Those interested can catch the recap of the event on the LINE for Business YouTube channel at https://lin.ee/eYO0g97/wcvn

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