Thai Tourism eyes big spenders as Aussie visits rebound

Visitor numbers from Australia for H1 outstrip 2022 total number

Australian travellers appear to have re-discovered the delights of Thailand, if this year’s visitor figures are anything to go by.

Last year the Kingdom welcomed 336,688 Australians, but in the first six months of this year, that figure jumped to 385,100, about 85% of the 2019 level.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) provided a tourist update and its new marketing strategy in Sydney, complete with a cultural performance by Thai dancers and musicians.

“Our target is to attract 522,000 Australian visitors this year, and I have a good feeling we’ll be able to do this”, said Sherly Handjojo, Marketing Manager of Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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Speaking to LATTE, she said the top five destinations where Australian visitors love to travel in Thailand are:

  1. Bangkok
  2. Phuket
  3. Ko Samui, Surat Thani
  4. Pattaya, Chon Buri
  5. Krabi

TAT expects to welcome 35 million foreign tourists and stimulate 200 million domestic trips in 2024, with an overall revenue target of three Billion Baht (131.7 billion AUD).

She revealed that the top five markets are Malaysia, China, South Korea, India and Russia, with Australia sitting in 16th place globally.

“They came to Taste, Create, Play, Absorb and Relax,” said Handjojo. TAT believes there are many experiences on offer for Aussie visitors and it plans to promote experience-based tourism to travellers, rather than just the destination.

“It is a way to allow tourists to explore, engage with the locals, and create meaningful experiences,” said Handjojo.

Traditional dancers at last week's update in Sydney from the Tourism Authority of Thailand

There are water sports and more than 300 golf courses in Thailand. Visitors can enjoy hiking and trekking in the scenic Thai countryside in Chiang Mai, or rejuvenate mind, body and soul at a number of wellness centres.

TAT says Thailand is a haven for foodies and Thai food ranked #3 as the type of cuisine Australians prefer, after Chinese and Italian. It says there are several ways to enjoy a Thai gastronomy experience. Take a cooking class, visit local fresh markets, sample street food, treat yourself to a Michelin-star restaurant, or join a food tour.

If your clients are after a cultural experience, suggest exploring ancient historic temples, and traditional villages to learn more about Thai culture and history.

Want some luxury? Shop for local products and support artisans at the market or shopping mall. Socialise at trendy rooftop bars with panoramic views of the Chao Phraya River, or take a private river cruise.

Handjojo says 2024 will be the year of accelerating Resilience, transforming Thailand into High Value and Sustainable Tourism.

“We need to become less reliant on the number of tourists and focus on increasing tourism spending, attracting quality tourists, and distributing income fairly to the local communities,” she said.

“Our aim is to create a balance between economic wealth, social well-being and environmental wellness.”

Lead image: Sherly Handjojo, Marketing Manager of Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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