Thailand Switches Focus to Brand Building

. October 14, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand, September 29, 2006. Strong brand building is to be the primary strategy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand as it seeks to achieve a target of 13.8 million international arrivals in 2006 and 15 million in 2007.

The new marketing slogan, "Thailand Unforgettable", expected to be utilised for at least three years, is a key component of the strategy which will also include strong efforts to maintain a market share, boost tourism revenue earnings, and enhance Thailand's competitive edge.

TAT has set its 2007 targets at 15 million international visitors and 82 million domestic trips, respectively generating estimated revenues of 547.5 billion baht (US$ 14,573 million, at August 2006 exchange rates) and 377 billion baht (US$ 10,055 million, at August 2006 exchange rates).

These targets were agreed at last week's annual marketing meeting of the which also included extensive consultations with the private sector.

This year, TAT researched its competitive position and found that Thailand featured amongst the top ten destinations in the holiday segments of beach holidays, family destination, nightlife and convention.

Research by other publications like Lonely Planet, popular with the young people, show Thailand is already the top-rated destination in terms of value and food. It has also been rated as having the "Most Exciting Outdoor Market."

Under the new "Thailand Unforgettable" slogan, the marketing activities will seek to accentuate Thailand's key strengths as a destination; 1) Sun, Sand Sea; 2) Modern and Traditional; and 3) Shopping, Dining and Golfing.

Mrs Juthamas said, "We want to ensure that all visitors have good memories of Thailand as a kingdom of unforgettable beauty, luxury, culture and adventure." Efforts will be directed at ensuring a good mix of source markets in terms of both customer segments and geographical distribution.

Markets targeted for intensive promotions are mainly in Europe (UK, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Russia and Spain) and North East Asia (China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan). Short-haul markets where people are travelling for shorter periods but more frequently include Malaysia and Singapore.

Five new tourism products and services have been identified to cater to the needs of specific market segments; Classic Destinations, Emerging Destinations, Sport Activities, Trendy Products, and Special Product of the year.

In each segment, the following have been identified in a way that allows the key product highlights to be matched with the destinations that best offer them:

--Classic Destinations: Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Samui and Chiang Mai

--Emerging Destinations: Ko Chang, Ko Lanta

--Sport Activities: Golfing, Diving and Yachting

--Trendy Products: Boutique Hotel, Spa and Wellness, Medical tourism

--Special product of the year: The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006, international

--Horticultural exposition to be held from November 1, 2006 - 31 January, 2007 in the northern city of Chiang Mai.

Mrs Juthamas said, "This will allow us to better target the required market segments and also promote the geographical distribution of visitors nationwide so as to better distribute tourism earnings and also prevent over-congestion at popular tourist spots."

Other strategies will be designed to build Thailand's image as a gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion, increase tourism revenue and make better use of technology, both as a means of marketing as well as a medium of getting updated customer feedback.

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