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TAT to rejig promotional strategy

The Tourism Authority of Thailand plans to revamp its promotional strategy after seeing increasing signs of sluggish income this year due to the ongoing political unrest.

TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik yesterday said the political situation and street protests in Bangkok had already affected the number of visitors, mainly from Asian markets.

Foreign tourists have expressed their concern over the prolonged unrest, and many potential visitors asked about the political situation during their visit to the TAT pavilion at the "Asean Tourism Forum 2014" fair, which was held in Malaysia over the past week.

Many of them were confused as to whether the government's enforcement of the emergency decree would include a curfew, he said.

"We have prepared an urgent meeting for our Asia and South Pacific marketing staff. We will, however, wait to see the market reaction [to the decree] during the Chinese New Year festival, so that we can then put in place a strategy in line with the current situation in Thailand, and the travel behaviour of tourists coming from particular markets at different periods of time - such as those from Australia and the Middle East, who travel to the Kingdom during the lower season in June and July," said Thawatchai.

"We will accelerate [our efforts] to promote confidence among our target customers, especially those who are repeat visitors to Thailand, which account for about 60 per cent of total clients. This repeat group knows Thailand well and has a good understanding about the political situation," he added.

"We will also release a testimonial ad to be produced by well-known bloggers with the use of online media, to promote our tourism sector. We will assign our marketing staff to seek 'new' markets, such as Singapore, where there is good demand to visit Thailand but also worry about the political unrest in Bangkok. However, there are some students from Singapore who have proposed organising an educational trip to Chiang Mai," said the governor.

Thawatchai also said that there were, however, some markets in Asia where there was no significant concern about the political unrest. He cited India, and especially the wedding-couples segment, which still viewed the Kingdom favourably as a destination to host nuptial ceremonies.

The TAT also plans to promote other potential destinations that have not affected by the political unrest, such as Hua Hin, Cha-am, Pattaya, the provinces along with Andaman Sea coast, and the northern provinces.

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