Tourism Authority of Thailand
The Royal Thai Government established the Tourist Organisation on 18 March, 1960, to promote and market Thailand as a tourist destination among both international and local travellers. In 1963, it was renamed as the Tourist Organisation of Thailand (TOT), under which Thailand’s first international tourist office was opened in New York in 1965 and first domestic office in Chiang Mai in 1968.
As Thailand’s tourism continued to grow and increasingly played pivotal role as one of the country’s top export earners, the government saw the need to place greater emphasis on promoting and marketing the kingdom as a tourist destination among international travellers. In 1979, the government passed a bill that brought the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) into existence.
Now in its 57th year with headquarters in Bangkok, 38 offices in Thailand and 27 offices overseas, TAT is one of the key fundamentals that help make Thailand one of the world’s favourite destinations for international travellers. The number of visitor arrivals grew from 81,000 tourists in 1960 to 32.59 million in 2016
Major events in Thailand’s tourism
Visit Thailand Year 1980 and 1987: Thailand launched its first ever tourism campaign, Visit Thailand Year, in 1980. That year, the country attracted two million visitor arrivals, generating huge revenue that it turned tourism into the country’s top export earner.
The Visit Thailand Year campaign was re-launched in 1987 to mark the fifth cycle (60th) birthday of His Majesty the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. The success of this was shown in the number of visitor arrivals, which grew 24 per cent from 2.8 million to 3.4 million in 1987.
Amazing Thailand 1998-1999: The Amazing Thailand campaign marked the sixth cycle (72nd) birthday of His Majesty the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. It also marked the end of the last millennium and the start of a new one. In addition, it presented the chance for Thailand to highlight the importance of tourism as part of recovery efforts as the region recover from the 1997 Asian Crisis.
TAT partnered with public and private organisations to launch the Amazing Thailand campaign which featured sales and unique Thai tourism products including accommodation, entertainment, souvenirs and new destinations. This resulted in a 7.53 per cent growth in visitor arrivals to 7.76 million in 1998 and a further 10 per cent increase to 8.58 million in 1999.
Unseen Thailand 2003: The tourism industry faced the SARS epidemic in early 2003. To help mitigate the impact on the tourism industry, TAT joined hands with several tourism-related associations, including the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Thai Hotels Association and Thai Airways International in setting up a Crisis Management Committee.
The united public-and-private-sector force resulted in the launch of the Unseen Thailand campaign, offering special promotions to attract international visitors and boost domestic travel. Although Thailand suffered a 10 per cent drop in visitor arrivals, the number remained above 10 million for the third consecutive year.
Thailand Grand Invitation 2006: Millions of people worldwide had the chance to witness Thailand’s many spectacular royal events including the magnificent Royal Barge Procession as the country commemorated the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne in 2006.
TAT launched a TV commercial entitled Thailand Grand Invitation 2006 to invite visitors from around the world to visit Thailand and experience the all year long celebrations. This resulted in a 20 per cent growth in visitor arrivals to 13.8 million.
Thailand Talk to the World 2007: Thailand celebrated His Majesty the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday in 2007. TAT launched a TV commercial entitled Thailand Talk to the World to encourage foreigners to visit Thailand. Visitor arrivals grew 4.85 per cent to 14.46 million.
TAT’s 50th Anniversary in 2010: Thailand’s tourism industry celebrated the Golden Jubilee as both the TAT and Thai Airways International turned 50. In commemorating the pivotal role TAT plays in making Thailand one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, a TV commercial titled “Remember” was launched along with the introduction of the “Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You” tagline to encourage visitor to return to Thailand, as part of the plans to increase the number of repeat visitors.
In 2012, Thailand achieved record-breaking visitor arrivals, crossing the 22 million mark for the first time: This year, the people of Thailand commemorated the 85th birthday of His Majesty the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. During the year, TAT continued to promote the country under the “Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You” campaign tagline, and launched a series of promotional activities, including a TV commercial titled ‘Warm Welcome is all Around You.’ Thailand recorded over 22.35 million international visitor arrivals in 2012.
Amazing Thailand It Begins with the People 2013-2014: Thailand welcomed 26.74 million visitor arrivals in 2013, exceeding the year’s original target of 26.1 million and representing a 19.6 per cent year-on-year increase. In 2014, Thailand attracted a total of 24.77 million visitor arrivals.
Under the “Amazing Thailand It Begins with the People” campaign, TAT continued to work closely with the public and private sector to promote Thailand as a tourist destination. In addition, several pro-tourism policies were launched by related government agencies, including the three-month tourist visa fee waiver for holders of Chinese and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) passports, the Thailand Travel Shield insurance coverage policy for visitors and the 30-day extension of stay for visitors from 48 countries, and a raft of measures aimed at improving the experience of travellers visiting the country, such as, zoning and regulations at key beach destinations and the newly-installed automatic queue-card taxi kiosks at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
2015 Discover Thainess: TAT launched the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign to showcase the hospitable character of the Thai people and the many cultural assets of the country that make it a unique tourist destination. The spirit of “Thainess” is the blend of traditions and beliefs. Everything is interconnected. For example, Thai boxing incorporates: the Thai way of life in the wai kru dance as a way of paying respect to the trainer; the Thai fun in the enjoyment of the crowd; the Thai wisdom in the techniques and training handed down over centuries; and the Thai wellness in the many techniques used to treat wounds or bruises. The everyday life of the Thai people can boast a similar mix of culture and traditions that epitomises “Thainess” and makes the country stand out as offering unique experiences to all visitors who visit Thailand.
2016 Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess: TAT’s primary focus for this year was to promote Thailand under the “Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess” strategy. This was aimed at enhancing the image of the kingdom as a destination for quality tourist markets by offering ‘Thainess’ as a unique selling proposition. The wording of the new strategy indicates the focus of “quality” as measured by visitor expenditure, average length of stay, and the overall quality of the visitor experience.
2017 Unique Thai Local Experiences: This year, TAT continues to focus on enhancing the image of Thailand as a Quality Leisure Destination by offering “Unique Thai Local Experiences.” This means greater emphasis on promoting “Creative Tourism” through Thai culture, experiences and way of life in order to create valuable and memorable experiences to quality tourists by creating value tourism products and upgrading product standards. The “Amazing Thailand” branding remains in place supported by powerful narratives called “Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand”.