Why Thailand Needs To Create Domestic Tourism Demand

Bigger Picture.

Why Thailand Needs To Create Domestic Tourism Demand
Thai Business Box

Why Thailand Needs To Create Domestic Tourism Demand

Written By - Patra Manas. 28-2020.

The so-called “failed” subsidized domestic tourism policy by the government should be thought of as a first step in the right direction and the government should not give up on working on it’s domestic tourism stimulus projects, but instead change focus from making it cheap to travel domestically to creating demand for Thais to want to travel domestically.

First of all let’s look at whether Thailand has a potential domestic tourism market.

In 2019, the tourism receipts incurred from domestic tourism amounted to approximately 1.1 trillion baht while 11 million Thais travelled abroad spending 400 billion baht.

The potential domestic market value is 1.5 trillion baht which is not exactly shabby when compared to the foreign tourism market value of 1.93 trillion baht from 40 million tourists. 

With travel restrictions and the pandemic raging on overseas, many Thais who used to travel internationally would not be inclined to do so for a while, maybe even years.

This is a new potentially untapped market for domestic tourism.

Then why did the government’s ‘We Travel Together’ program meet with such lukewarm response?

In basic business principles, if a product is presented to a potential target market at lower than normal pricing, customers should be lining up for that product, especially since huge awareness has been created. If they do not, it means the product on offer is not appealing enough to that target market. The price factor becomes irrelevant.

For decades, the tourism industry, including government agencies, provinces and businesses, have targeted foreign tourists, providing products, services and activities that caters to and appeals only to foreigners.

With the vanishing of the foreign tourists overnight, the tourist hotspots have turned into ghost towns and the government’s program of making domestic tourism in Thailand cheaper is akin to off-season promotions. Off -season promotions rarely work well because when people go on holiday they want the fun, the hustle and the bustle.

When Thais travel now they are met with scenes of shuttered businesses and the few business operators that are still open may not be catering to Thai tastes.

The government needs to refocus it’s attention and drive towards the needs and demands of the domestic traveller, if it wants to see domestic tourism reach its full potential.

This would mean a concerted effort and coordination between the government, provincial authorities and business owners in each tourist-centric province and bring about a revival of the province, hotspots and businesses by innovating themselves to cater more to the domestic traveller.

Will it be expensive? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.

If the global pandemic has taught the world anything, it is that to survive, businesses have to pivot and innovate, that goes for countries too.

The world over, even in countries like France, which is a top global tourist destination, have shifted it’s focus to domestic tourism. Why? Because the return of foreign tourists and the timing of it is uncertain.

Thailand is expecting about 5 million tourists in 2021, which is a far cry from 2019’s 40 million.

Globally, experts are warning that tourism will not return to the same level it was before the pandemic for another 4 years. 

Even if that is reduced to 2 years, can the government keep supporting the tourism sector or can businesses survive that long before global demand for travel revives?

Is it not better to push for the captured audience that is already in the country than just wait for an uncertain future with foreign tourists?

The advantage Thailand has over other countries is that it is Covid-free and have a wide range of activities and events we can promote which other countries are unable to do so because of Covid pandemic restrictions. Contiue Reading Below...

AD

 The choices of what Thailand can do to promote domestic tourism is limitless. We can have a nationwide celebration that we are a Covid free country, for example.

Hold music festivals, Covid-free parades with floats from the medical sector and businesses of that province, a food festival, light and sound shows at various tourist attractions, day markets, night markets, street food boulevards etc.

Create “selfie bonanza” opportunities and fill up social media with vibrant celebratory images of Thailand.

Our amazing TAT authorities, agencies and think-tanks would have a field day coming up with ideas and doing something they are so good at, promoting tourism just for a different target market this time.

Isn’t it time we celebrated an achievement that few if any country can lay claim to? Isn’t it time we picked up the morale, confidence and pride of the nation?

We can choose to act and not just react to the influences of the world.

Show the world Thailand is celebrating and when we do open, we wouldn’t need to advertise nor compete with other countries much , tourists would be waiting and wanting to join this celebration in sunny Thailand.