How amazing is Thailand?
BANGKOK, 1 August 2012: Tourists believe Thailand is still a vibrant destination and its people friendly to foreigners, but security is still the top concern that the industry needs to address, according to a recent Tourism Authority of Thailand study “Is Thailand still Amazing?
TAT released details of its latest Thailand Brand survey, Tuesday, that reflected feedback from 14 major markets namely Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia, China, Korea, India, Russia, Germany, Sweden and Italy.
TAT assigned the Eureka Consulting Company to conduct the survey which took around eight months to complete. The research was based on 3,640 interviews (around 250 from each country). It was a mix of people who had visited Thailand in the past and those who had never visited the country.
The core finding showed that Thailand was still a perceived as a sea, sand and sun destination displaying positive, good hospitality attributes. There was very little difference between the opinions of the two groups. TAT believes this is due mainly to social media that provides information so even non-visitors believe they have a valid perception.
Thailand is still viewed as a destination for sea, sand and sun (sex). However, each market displayed different shades of meaning. In Asian markets it is perceived as relaxation and a sense of pampering at beach destinations, while the European market sought pristine beaches and a natural environment.
The study showed tourists were concerned about safety. Thailand’s nightlife was viewed as the most dangerous, followed by land transport.
Medical tourism and spa products and services were top of the list representing attractiveness, especially in Asia Pacific markets while soft adventure tourism was top in European markets.
The study found that Thailand was weak in family tourism products, such as theme parks and recreational options designed for children. The same applied to the romantic segment such as honeymoons. There was the perception that Thailand cannot deliver a sense of privacy and the national taboo for not showing affection in public places was viewed as a drawback.
The study suggested the travel industry should be wary of raising prices too. Tourists ranked low accommodation prices and cost of living in Thailand as the most valuable asset that drew them to the country.
In term of Thainess, tourists were impressed by the 24-hour lifestyle of Thai people, followed by the Thai smile, good hospitality and lifestyle.
Thailand’s image as the Land of Smiles is not so clear as in the past due to the power of the internet that channels news to the world faster. News of security failures, crime and natural disasters reaches potential visitors much faster and this in turn sways travel decisions in the short term.
The result of the research is in Thai language and can be downloaded at http://etatjournal.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/thailand-destination-image.pdf.