Thailand seeks romantic travellers

PATTAYA, 15 June 2018: The Tourism Authority of Thailand will place a stronger emphasis on the lucrative weddings and honeymoon travel segment to raise Thailand’s position in global rankings.

Commenting at a press conference during the opening of the Thailand Travel Mart, Wednesday, TAT deputy governor marketing communications, Tanes Petsuwan, said Thailand was now positioned to become a top global destination for “romance, weddings and honeymoons.”

Tanes said, “numerous marketing and promotional activities are planned to reinforce Thailand’s image as a global wedding and honeymoon destination.”

TAT has also identified potential romance travel destinations, mostly beach destinations with the exception of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in North Thailand.

Tanes identified Pattaya, the host city of the TTM+2018, plus Phuket, Samui, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Trang, Trat, Hua Hin-Pran Buri and Chiang Rai as having potential to attract romance travel.

TAT says the objective is to raise romance travel visits to be around 5% of the total visitor arrivals to the country. Last year Thailand counted 35 million arrivals.

In 2016,  3.37% of all visitors to Thailand were linked to a romantic travel themed holiday.

Firm statistics on the worth of the romantic travel market that includes weddings and honeymoons are sketchy.

The latest figures date back to 2016 when TAT claimed there were 1.1 million visitors to the country who could be classified in the romantic travel category.

Earnings were estimated at USD 1.65 billion or approximately USD1,500 per visitor per trip.

The wedding segment in 2016 generated 104,000 visits, while honeymoons were estimated at 990,000 trips.

India alone supplied around 400 weddings for destinations in Thailand, the largest single supply market for the country.

Tanes presented what he called his five “Ds to explain why Thailand was the “perfect destination for romance, weddings and honeymoons.”

Tanes on five Ds

Destinations Extraordinaire: A wide choice of breathtaking locations that are perfect as the setting of the couples’ most important day.

Diverse Choices: Tailor-made wedding themes for couples by professional planners with varied options; beach, luxury yacht and underwater.

Dream Hideaways: From homestays to deluxe villas.

Delectable Tastes: Michelin star recommended restaurants, or street food.

Distinct Hospitality: “Thainess” demonstrated in heart-warming hospitality that shapes the couple’s experiences.

The main ‘pre-wedding market’ is China as Chinese couples are normally fond of shooting photos and prefer visiting Thailand.

Wedding markets are India, Hong Kong and Australia.

Honeymoons are sold in long-haul markets such as North America and Europe. Nearby markets are Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.

Milestones on Thailand’s journey to recognition in the romance travel market included the hosting of the 4th Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2017 in Phuket, an event held for the first time in Asia that attracted 450 delegates from 60 countries.

Last February Thailand hosted Amour Asia-Pacific 2018 that welcomed 77 high-quality buyers including both romance travel buyers and destination wedding planners. It fielded 84 exhibitors, ranging from hotel and accommodation providers to destination management companies from across the Asia-Pacific including 15 from Thailand.