Tourism: Beyond Bangkok and beaches

CHIANG MAI, 26 January 2018: Thailand may have attracted 35.5 million tourist arrivals in 2017, but the challenge is to spread them across the country rather than in the capital and the handful of popular beach resorts.

Tourism Authority of Thailand deputy governor marketing communications, Tanes Petsuwan, addressed the issue at an ATF media briefing, Wednesday, saying the priority was to highlight the tourism assets of 55 provinces, all secondary destinations that could accommodate up to 10 million tourists annually.

Of the 35 million tourist arrivals in 2017, more than 20 million visited the Thailand capital and the rest headed for beach resorts such as Phuket, Krabi, Samui island and Pattaya on Thailand’s eastern seaboard. Probably between 3 to 4 million ventured to North and Northeast Thailand.

Fielding questions on boosting tourism beyond the gateway destinations and beach resorts, Tanes said the priority was to create MOUs with international airlines to open more flights.

TAT has successfully concluded MOUs with Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways, three key airlines linking source markets in Europe with destinations in Thailand.

Late last year, TAT signed an MOU with Turkish Airlines that provided budget support for joint promotions and travel agency, or media familiarisation trips from key  European markets.

“The  MOU with Qatar Airways created awareness and resulted in an increase in arrivals from the Americas particularly Latin America and Brazil,” Tanes noted, saying  they were markets that were almost “mission impossible” due to the long 25-hour flights to reach Thailand.

TAT has been assigned the task of spearheading a campaign to drive tourism to 55 secondary destinations, a “go local” grassroots initiative that if successful could boost domestic earnings by USD300 million.

The campaign kicks off at a domestic level first offering Thais tax rebates if they book holidays to any of the 55 provinces, but the “go local” theme is also targeting international travellers looking for a distinctive Thai experience.

Qatar Airways, last December, launched four-weekly  direct flights from Doha to Chiang Mai and this month added services to U-Tapao an  airport just 30 km south of Pattaya.

There are still questions over Qatar’s year-round plans for Chiang Mai due to the lack of firm flight information in the summer timetable after this May. However, Tanes said he was confident the airline would serve the northern gateway had a year-round commitment from Qatar Airways.

In 2017, Chiang Mai’s international clocked 18,000 international flights. All of them except Qatar’s service from Doha originated in cities in Asia and predominantly in China.


  1. Finally no bragging Great Numbers? How messed up with those insane expectations!

    Deputy PM and Minister got fired, deputies shuffled and silenced.

Comments are closed.