Australia is entrenched as a Top 10 source market for Thailand, recording around 822,000 visitors in 2018. While visitor numbers from Australia have remained flat, tourism receipts, encouragingly, are still growing. Speaking to LATTE at the recent Thailand Travel Market Plus (TTM+), Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Australia Director, Suladda Sarutilavan, shared that Aussie holidaymakers spend on average 13 days in the country and spend a minimum of $3,400 per person, per trip.
Sherly Handjojo, TAT Australia Marketing Manager, said gastronomy is emerging as a key focus for Australian travellers, and that travel to Thailand has been going through phases.
“One or two decades ago, many Aussies travelled to Thailand to have an adventure as backpackers, perhaps as a month-long vacation exploring different parts of Thailand. Then came the Aussie partygoers, spending their one-week holiday in Phuket, Koh Phangan or Pattaya, to socialise and have fun, and some of course still do.
“The mainstream, and perhaps more so families, still prefer the flop-and-drop style of holiday, to escape from their routine and relax at a comfortable resort.
“These days, the trend is to travel for food. We are very blessed in Australia, where multiple cultures blend together, and Thai food is proven to be a popular preference here,” Handjojo said.
Thailand now boasts 214 Michelin-starred restaurants in Bangkok, Phuket and Phang-Nga. Later this year, Handjojo shared that Chiang Mai will be added to the list of destinations.
The environment is equally important. The opening of TTM+ 2019 was timed to coincide with World Environment Day on 5 June. The event’s entire trade directory and press releases were all accessible online to minimise paper distribution, and there were no plastic bags in sight.
Thailand was also the first country in Asia to join the global ocean clean-up effort.
“Upcycling Oceans Thailand” aims to move Thailand’s tourism industry to be more sustainable and become a regional role model for green tourism. The project, running for three years from 2017 to 2019, promotes the concept of responsible tourism, while conducting waste management activities: collecting, segregating and transforming plastic waste, innovative eco-friendly technology to transform the raw materials removed from the sea into stylish fashion items and accessories.
Find out more about the initiative here.