Thailand is focusing on the Middle East as a key source market, as the Southeast Asian country last year received 96,389 travellers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, followed by 65,857 from the UAE, 44,566 from Kuwait, 26,745 from Oman and 23,170 travellers from Qatar. Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2023, held recently in Bangkok, was one of the key steps in this direction.
Thailand’s leading B2B travel industry show, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2023 concluded in Bangkok recently. Hon. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand, inaugurated the event, which was attended by key agents in the Middle East.
Welcoming the participants, Ratchakitprakarn said, “It is indeed an honour and pleasure for me to meet every one of you, who have travelled from around the world, and entrepreneurs living in Thailand, who have come to participate in the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2023 in Bangkok today. After COVID-19, ‘shaping supply’ is what Thailand’s tourism has put in mind and has been increasingly concerned about. In other words, we realize that developing the quality of tourism products and services and most importantly experiences for the entire journey are key to meeting the demand of quality travellers. Meanwhile, sustainability is playing a crucial role in improving the supply side. Thus, it has been addressed in our strategy that implements the ‘Bio-Circular-Green’ economy concept to design travel experiences and deliver meaningful trips to travellers, as well as initiate and implement the sustainable tourism goals to set a framework advocating sustainability in the environment, socio-economy, management, and culture for tourism related businesses in Thailand. In order to successfully drive Thailand towards sustainable tourism and being a quality destination, we cannot do it alone. However, we need support from you and the stakeholders in the tourism industry to make it happen.”
Last year, Thailand received 96,389 travellers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, followed by 65,857 from the UAE, 44,566 from Kuwait, 26,745 from Oman and 23,170 travellers from Qatar. Last month, addressing the Arabian Travel Market, Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), reiterated that they expect one million visitors from the Middle East by 2025. Speaking about the event, Supasorn said, “This year, the TTM+ 2023 will continue to shine a spotlight on the Thai tourism industry’s ongoing efforts towards a meaningful travel direction through the promotion and development of high value and sustainable tourism. As the premier showcase of Thai tourism, this year’s TTM+ will present how we are elevating supply and sustainable standards while leveraging the kingdom’s 5F soft-power foundations of Food, Film, Festival, Fight and Fashion to maintain tourists’ confidence in Thailand as a preferred destination.”
The TTM+ 2023 has been conceptualised in line with the ‘Visit Thailand Year 2023: Amazing New Chapters’ marketing campaign, to showcase travel products, services, and experiences that promote Thai cultural values for a meaningful travel experience. It also corresponds with TAT’s strategy to leverage technology and innovation to add value and transform Thai tourism to ‘Smart Tourism’ and accelerate Thailand’s tourism ecosystem to quality and sustainability.
This year’s TTM+ attracted over 850 participants, including 350 buyers from 50 countries, 400 sellers from across all five regions of Thailand, as well as 100 local and international media. Buyers include those from key source markets – Europe, ASEAN, East Asia, America, and Australia – and emerging markets – Eastern Europe, Middle East, South America, and South Africa.
Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, TAT, explained about the expansion to new markets such as Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates at the Thailand Product Update for buyers and media attending the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2023. The TAT underlined quality and experience-based tourism among key elements of Thai tourism products and services as part of its strategic move to transform Thailand’s tourism towards high-value and sustainable tourism. He further reiterated, “TAT is illustrating Thailand as offering meaningful-driven travel to improve visitors’ experience. Encompassing discovery, transformation, fulfilment, and engagement between people, cultures, and nature, this underscores TAT’s direction to making a destination for protecting the country’s vast natural and scenic beauty and instigating a range of environmental initiatives.”
Key elements of tourism products and services that reflect TAT’s overall strategies have included luxury tourism experiences, wellness tourism, and tourism towards sustainability. Highlights for luxury tourism experiences include Live the Bangkok Life and Relaxing Phangnga plus Youthfully Phuket, while for wellness tourism, Thailand’s wellness possibilities include family-friendly wellness breaks in Chiang Mai; and immunity booster vacations in Ko Samui, Surat Thani.
Thailand’s tourism towards sustainability comprises a wide range of destinations and activities that deliver sustainability experiences, including exploring local community by bike at Bang Krachao, Samut Prakan; adventurer travel in Umphang, Tak; slow life at low-carbon destination on Ko Mak in Trat; and exploring the Little Amazon and surfing at the Memories beach in Takua Pa, Phangnga.
TAT is also developing a national drive that encompasses the entire Thai tourism industry with the development of the Sustainable Tourism Goals (STGs) based on the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations. Among new initiatives include a STAR (Sustainable Tourism Acceleration Rating) system to certify sustainable tourism businesses.
Meanwhile, TAT continues to develop a new tourism ecosystem and elevate supply through such initiatives as the Thailand Tourism Awards, ‘Up-Skill Re-Skill’ human resources development project, and ‘CF Hotels’ online platform for hotel and lodging operators to sustainably manage businesses. TAT continues to collaborate with strategic partners and increase air connectivity, expand markets, and promote Thailand as an all-year round destination. Thailand celebrated a milestone achievement in 2022, welcoming a total of 11.15 million international arrivals, which generated a revenue of 589 billion Baht.