Agents check out Rayong tourism
RAYONG, 25 June 2012: Rayong province, close to Pattaya, needs to broaden its tourist attractions if it is to move out of the shadow of its neighbour, according to tourism experts.
Tour operators from Bangkok visited the province over the weekend and made comments on tourism prospects. Mostly they concluded the province needed to find a selling point that would set it apart from Pattaya.
Like Pattaya, the province has beaches, off -shore islands, golf courses and enough real estate projects to gain a share of the lucrative long-stay market linked to apartment rentals or purchases. But it fails to shine in all tourism segments.
At the 1st Association of Thai Travel Agents mobile meeting held in Rayong, association vice president and Special Journey Co Ltd general manager, Chidchai Sakornbadee, said the province “may have a diversity of natural resources, but it has always failed to catch the attention of tour operators in Europe.
“European travellers if they are interested in natural attractions would go to Chang in Trat province….Rayong has to find a gimmick or something strong to draw more attention to its attractions.”
His company specialises in European markets so Mr Chidchai suggested the province should focus on its food and fruit that could appeal to both European and Chinese visitors.”
Adventure tour options would also be possible, but Rayong lives under the shadow of a mass tourism destination like Pattaya that can attract a more diverse market mix of travellers.
Commenting from an Indonesian market perspective, ATTA co-coordinator and Asian Union Travel Co Ltd managing director, Suphachai Janesaksrisakun, agreed the fruit orchards would appeal to Indonesian travellers especially during the annual fruit festivals that highlight durian orchards.
“There has been an increase in flights from Indonesia with around 3,000 seats available per day however 80% of visitors choose Bangkok and Pattaya as their destinations,” he said, noting it would take considerable promotion and planning to change that trend.
Many of Rayong beaches and the famous island of Samet are just a one-hour trip from Pattaya. Beach and sea quality are superior on Samet.
Tourism Promotion Association of South Korea-Thailand’s representative, Krysorn Hwang advised: “The province should go for weddings and honeymoons, golf and long stay products to tap the market from Korea.”
ATTA registrar and Good Luck Express Co Ltd general manager, Surawatchara Akkaraworamas, suggested more attention to Asian language was needed to appeal to markets.
Mr Surawatchara added: “Generally, Chinese tourists love to travel to islands such as Maldives that is packed out with Chinese who spend around Bt100,000 per trip.”
“Tour operators need to check out the Chinese FIT market, which is growing 30% to 40% a year and this includes weddings and honeymoons where revenue is higher than general tours,” he said.