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TAT hopes to maintain European arrivals despite euro crisis

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is aiming to maintain its growth in the European market for next year, especially since widespread financial uncertainty in the West could affect tourist numbers and revenue.

TAT targets revenue from European tourists to rise 8 per cent to Bt347 billion next year and arrivals to increase 6 per cent to 5.5 million.

However, achieving this growth will depend very much on whether the political situation here remains calm and people do not take to the streets as in 2010, said Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT deputy governor for marketing in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.

She explained that this year, TAT was confident that tourism revenue from the European market would grow at least 7 per cent to Bt307 billion and arrival numbers should rise 5 per cent to 5.3 million.

In the first eight months of this year, there was a slight drop in arrivals from Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, though there was an increase in tourists from Spain, Portugal and Italy.

However, though travellers have been spending less because of economic hardship back home, Juthaporn said the outlook for this market was optimistic, especially since Thailand was still one of the favourite destinations for most Europeans. A survey by Association de Tour Operateurs showed that Thailand was the third-favourite destination for French travellers after Italy and Portugal.

In a move to capture the European market further, TAT took 29 tourism-related operators, including representatives of hotels, travel agents and Bangkok Airways, on a roadshow in Amsterdam, Brussels and Lyon at the end of last month. The operators were given a chance to meet with 205 prospective buyers and present what they had to offer. Juthaporn said all participants earned a positive response.

Next year, TAT will focus on other key cities in Europe, such as Glasgow and Manchester in Britain.


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