The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently published figures that show high-end visitors from four other ASEAN countries are predicted to generate THB1.3 billion (US$39.9 million) in income through to 2015, reported the Bangkok Post recently. The TAT has also revealed plans to spend THB124 million (US$3.8 million) on marketing campaigns to attract high-end visitors from these countries.
In 2013, the total number of visitors to Thailand from ASEAN countries hit 7.28 million, up 15 percent from 2012. In fact, tourists from ASEAN countries represented an impressive 27.4 percent of all foreign visitors to the Kingdom.
The number of arrivals from Singapore rose 14.95 percent to 955,468 while the number Vietnamese tourists grew by 17 percent to 725,057. The total number of visitors from Indonesiawas up 32% to a total of 594,251, and the total number of tourists from Malaysia grew by 19 percent to an impressive 3 million.
According to Jamnong Junnapiya, the TAT's executive director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific, high-end visitors are attracted to Thailand because of the excellent shopping options and the high quality of many home grown Thai products. TAT research indicates that affluent visitors from these nations spend an average of THB5,873 (US$180) compared to only THB1,667 (US$51) spent by tourists from other regions and most of their money goes on food, beverages and shopping.
Once only a competitor on the tourism scene, Indonesia is now a key target for Thailand's tourism sector and the TAT plans to spend THB30 million (US$922,509) on marketing campaigns in then island nation are projected to generate THB155 million (US$4.8 million) in revenue.
In Malaysia, the TAT plans to splash THB30 million (US$922,509) on marketing in order to generate revenue of THB415 million (US$12.8 million). Special packages will include a promotion calledLive a Sultan's Life in Thailand , while in Singapore campaigns costing THB44 million (US$1.35 million) will focus on the Journey of Thai Food , and will include cultural activities and cooking classes.
Many of Thailand's high-end travellers now look to make the most of their stay by renting out one of the country's luxurious private villas, most of which are situated in popular island destinations like Phuket and Koh Samui. The Kingdom now boasts an impressive portfolio of such properties, featuring luxurious facilities such as private swimming pools, tennis courts and mini movie theatres.
Villas provide the ultimate relaxing oasis for guests, and those that want to enjoy a personalised vacation can avail themselves of the services of a private chef who can whip up a culinary masterpiece in the villa's own kitchen. Villas are also being marketed as the perfect place to indulge in private spa treatments. Guests can enjoy personalised massage treatments at home to wind down after a long day of sightseeing.
When it comes to shopping, Phuket is well known for its appealing mix of large shopping malls and more traditional night markets. On Koh Samui, the newly opened Central Festival means visitors are now also spoilt for choice when it comes to retail therapy.
With such an eclectic combination of attractions, it seems Thailand is able to adapt quickly to prevailing global economic trends and therefore continues to attract record numbers of visitors every year.
by MAX VEE