Vientiane, 24 January 2024 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is highlighting Thailand’s revitalised direction towards more meaningful travel with a focus on high value and sustainable tourism at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2024, on from 22-27 January in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT Governor, said “TAT recognises the ATF, now in its 42nd year, as a significant annual platform for ASEAN tourism promotions. The event comprises several high-level components, including meetings of ASEAN Tourism Ministers, a tourism conference, media briefings, and the region’s leading TRAVEX trade show. TAT is proud to be a part of promoting ASEAN as a unique tourism destination to buyers from around the world.”
The ATF 2024’s theme, “Quality and Responsible Tourism – Sustaining ASEAN Future”, sings the same tune as the TAT’s ongoing direction towards high-value and sustainable tourism, which reflects the overall mood and feel of the Thailand Stand at the ATF TRAVEX 2024.
The Thailand Stand was formally opened on 24 January. Present at the event were H.E. Morakot Sriswasdi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Lao PDR, Mr. Kitti Chaodee, Secretary to Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, and Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT Governor, as well as the TAT executives.
The Thailand Stand features a range of meaningful travel experiences that reflect Thai soft powers and sustainable goals, with Thai massage demonstrations reiterating the kingdom’s well-established position as a world-class destination for health and wellness tourism. Jointly presented at the Thailand Stand are the Thailand Privilege Card, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, and the Isan Tourism Industry Trade Association – all are leading players in ASEAN intra-regional tourism and connectivity.
TAT has also conducted the Thailand Media Briefing to provide an update on Thailand’s tourism and its roles in ASEAN tourism promotion.
In 2023, Thailand welcomed over 28 million tourists, generating a revenue of 1.2 trillion Baht. Of the total arrivals, some 35% were from ASEAN countries. TAT has set an overall revenue target for 2024 in the best-case scenario at 3 trillion baht, comprising 1.92 trillion Baht from international tourism and 1.08 trillion Baht from domestic tourism. Tourist numbers are expected to include 35 million foreign arrivals and 200 million domestic trips.
Mr. Nithee Seeprae, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, said “To achieve the target, TAT will continue to strengthen Thailand’s image as a sustainable and responsible tourism destination. We are enhancing efforts to elevate supply and sustainable standards and leveraging Thai soft powers to offer meaningful travel experiences in Thailand.”
The Thailand Tourism Awards and TAT’s own Sustainable Tourism Goals (STGs) reflect Thailand’s direction on high-value and sustainable tourism. In its latest edition in 2023, the Thailand Tourism Awards added two new categories, Low-carbon and Sustainability, to reiterate the country’s commitment to low-carbon tourism and underline the direction towards high-value and sustainable tourism.
Meanwhile, TAT’s STGs which was developed and implemented in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, classify Thai tourism industry in a Sustainable Tourism Acceleration Rating (STAR) system. Currently, there are 497 businesses with STAR certifications in Thailand.
In terms of ASEAN tourism promotions, with about one-third of Thailand’s visitor arrivals last year coming from ASEAN, TAT has revitalised its marketing direction for 2024 by shifting focus toward segments with higher spending, a tendency to stay longer, exploring the local area, and caring for the environment. These include luxury experiences, health and wellness, family-friendly holidays, and secondary destinations.
“ASEAN connectivity plays an important role in boosting Thailand’s tourism industry and generating significant economic gains. Connectivity by air, land, rail, and maritime can increase the flow of visitors. Hence TAT sees the development of intra-regional transportation infrastructure as crucial in facilitating easier and more affordable travel,” Mr. Nithee concluded.