During the IFTM – TopResa show, we were able to meet Mr Teerasil TAPEN, Regional Director for Europe, Africa and Middle East and Soraya Homchuen, the director of OT from Thailand to France.
The tourism sector is crucial
According to Mr. Tapen, revenues from tourism represent at least 20% of GDP. It is therefore obvious that tourism is a strategic sector for the country. Tourism officials are counting on 28 to 30 million visitors in 2023 and more than 40 billion euros in revenue.
The French book directly
If 30% of French tourists go to Thailand via an intermediary (travel agency – tour operator); 70% of them make their reservations directly. The country is not scary, information is easy to find on the web, there is no shortage of airlines serving at least the capital. It is quite simple to book your plane ticket and your first nights in hotels. Teerasil Tapen nevertheless indicated that many tourists went to travel agencies to find out.
What are the important markets in 2023?
MalaysiaThailand’s southern neighbor, remains the main source market for visitors with almost 2.4 million visitors in the first seven months of 2023, including a significant share of land-based tourists.
China, which was Thailand’s top source market with 11 million visitors in 2019, is currently ranked second with almost 1.8 million visitors to date. The return of Chinese visitors has not been as rapid as expected, even if the recovery dynamic of the Chinese market has accelerated in recent months.
South Korea occupies third place with approximately 866,747 visitors to date and is on track to surpass previous records.
India ranks fourth with approximately 858,843 visitors to Thailand to date, and air connections to this destination are gradually being restored.
Russia, fifth, remains a major market for Thailand, particularly during the winter months when arrivals skyrocket. So far, more than 840,128 Russian visitors have visited the country.
Despite a decline in arrivals from Japan, Thailand does not plan to reduce its resources or interest in Japan as a visitor source market.
Saudi Arabia has become a “superstar” market
Thailand would experience rapid growth from 30,000 in 2021 to 100,000 in 2022. This increase would be due to the normalization of bilateral relations between the two countries last year. This number is expected to increase further in 2023. TAT (Thailand Tourism Authority) is in the process of setting up a promotion office in Riyadh.
The country hopes for the great return of Europeans this winter.
The price of the baht is falling
The baht has depreciated by 6.8% this year. Compared to its regional peers, the Thai currency was the third worst performer after the Japanese yen and Korean won, which weakened by 12% and 7.7%, respectively.