BANGKOK: Gearing up to mark its 60th anniversary in 2020, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is targeting 10% growth by making travel and tourism in the kingdom’s most economically promising and environmentally sustainable in the years to come.

Addressing the Thai tourism private sector and media after the week-long Tourism Action Plan meetings, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that the completion of the auspicious 5th cycle of life will be a time for reflection on past achievements and careful management of a new era of challenges set to emerge in a highly competitive and constantly changing global and regional environment.

“With the positive outcome in 2018, Thai tourism has clearly succeeded in fulfilling its mandate,” he said. “We will work even harder to maintain our brand image, preserve our competitive advantages, and ensure that the socio-economic benefits of international and domestic tourism are spread right across the country.”

In implementing this agenda, TAT will be closely aligning its strategies with the policies and plans of the National Economic and Social Development Board, Thailand’s national planning agency, whose Secretary General, K. Thosaphorn Sirisamphan is also the current Chairman of TAT’s Board.

The targets for 2020 are to boost total tourism revenues with a 10% growth over the projection for this year. TAT has also set clear directions to move the Thai tourism industry out of mass tourism and towards responsible tourism with an emphasis on revenue-generating quality tourists. The idea of responsible tourism will be spread out through the channels of TAT in-house magazine named Osotho.

Governor Yuthasak said, “Also, TAT will launch a nationwide campaign to mark its 60th anniversary with core messages highlighting the importance of responsible tourism and being good hosts under the theme of “Next steps towards a sustainable Thailand”. This campaign will be delivered to three target groups: TAT staff, the Thai people, and Thai tourism stakeholders. Meanwhile, an “Amazing Thailand Week” is also planned for the international market by TAT’s overseas offices.

For the domestic market, TAT will categorize customers into various segments; such as, Gen X, Gen Y, family and millennial family, silver age, lady, first jobber, multi-gen, and corporate.

In the foreign markets, TAT will focus on specific quality markets and middle-upper income groups (Go High). It will seek first-time visitors in new markets and in the long-standing source markets (Go New Customer). It will also attempt to balance out the seasonality factor and generate more demand in the “Green Season” (Go Low).

Alongside efforts to build a strong image of Thailand in order to maintain its competitive advantages, other products will be developed and marketed; such as, home-stays, walking streets and local cuisine (Go Local). Meanwhile, digital technology will be devised to reach the customers (Go Digital). All those efforts are made to reach the 10% growth in 2020.

The core communication marketing theme will remain “Open to the New Shades” that focuses on providing positive and unexpected experiences. Following on from the long-standing Amazing Thailand slogan, widely recognized as one of the most impressive brand campaigns in Asia, the future advertising campaigns will continue to specific target groups and highlight the friendliness and hospitality of the Thai people.

Mr. Yuthasak said, “Next year is likely to be a testing year due to the impact of international developments; such as, global geopolitical friction and economic difficulties, increasing competition, a relatively strong Baht, and reduced spending power.”

“The good news is that the global travel and tourism market is still vibrant and the Asia-Pacific region, the source of the vast majority of Thailand’s tourism visitors, is seeing the emergence of many different customer segments across all demographic categories and growth in income groups.”

He added, “The past 60 years have seen Thai tourism go through many ups and downs, but always emerge strong and resilient. Our contribution to national social and economic development is now well-recognized. With the strong support of all Royal Thai Government agencies, our partners and friends abroad, as well as our energetic private sector, we will be doing our best to stay the course in the years ahead.”

To keep the position as a preferred destination, TAT will maintain to be 1 of top 6 countries that generated tourism revenue, and in the top 3 in the Loyalty Index in the Asia Pacific.