BANGKOK, 29 February 2016: Association of Thai Travel Agents suggests travel firm should study travel trends more closely and harness the power of social media.
Speaking at the association’s monthly meeting, late last week, ATTA secretary Adit Chairattananont advised members to keep an eye on current travel trends to improve their business prospects.
“Today social media plays an important role…tourists rely on the internet to access travel information…tourism operators should use social media as a tool to present products and communicate with their customers.”
Travel agents should also understand risk and crisis management so they can respond and handle an emergency situation, he said.
Last year, Thailand recorded 29.88 million arrivals, an increase of 20.44% from 24.80 million visits in 2014. Of that, Asia was a major source in top five markets namely China (7.93 million), Malaysia (3.42 million), Japan (1.38 million), South Korea (1.37 million) and Laos (1.23 million).
He said this year the country will target 32 million arrivals. China will supply 10.3 million followed by Malaysia (3.6 million), Japan and South Korea (1.4 million each), Laos (1.3 million), India (1.1 million), the United Kingdom (1 million), the United States (920,000), Hong Kong (710,000) and Taiwan (580,000).
“China is a powerful market…however we need to adopt a strategy to spread Chinese tourists to secondary destinations rather than overcrowding major tourist destinations,” he said.
“Taiwan is an emerging market particularly independent travellers, around 70% of all travellers from Taiwan…it is a quality market and they stay in four to five star hotels…Myanmar is also an emerging market.”
The secretary also suggested the National Tourism Policy Committee should set a master plan to manage the influx of international tourists to the kingdom.
“We have to think what is a suitable level that fits carrying capacity of each tourist attractions…. a master plan should be formalised to balance tourism to reach sustainability.”
Pacific Asia Travel Association estimated Thailand’s tourist arrivals would surge from 29.88 million in 2015 to 49 million in 2020.
ATTA president, Charoen Wangananont, added the country inbound tourism would continue to boom this year.
“Thailand tourism this year will close with a positive record. Asia particularly China and ASEAN will continue to be a major source for Thailand tourism industry.”
Europe particularly the United Kingdom will pick up this year, he said adding that Travel from Russia would continue to slow due to ruble weakness.