THE Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is moving forward with the development of a Big Data system to cater to the growth in the number of tourist arrivals.
The authority is seeking to improve its efficiency in the era of the digital economy and better serve tourists who are increasingly relying on technology as a significant tool for managing their travel needs.
The system will allow tourists to access travel information that lets them complete their trip planning more quickly and with greater convenience.
The TAT will initiate a “Tourism Smart Data Management” project so that information systems on tourism will be enhanced and developed. Such information will be managed and analysed, and then the resulting added commercial value can contribute to the development of the country. The project will be connected with the Kingdom's strategic plan for the development of tourism and help the industry to become more sustainable while reaching the targeted segment of tourists so as to cater to their demands.
The project can be a pilot to help the TAT achieve its plan for promoting a greater number of tourist arrivals in the coming years.
For 2018, more than 37 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Thailand and they will create about Bt3 trillion of revenue for the country, up 9 per cent over last year. About Bt2 trillion of that amount will come from foreign tourists, up 9.44 per cent over last year, and a further Bt1 trillion from Thai travellers, an increase of 8.16 per cent over last year. The top 10 source countries for visitors are China, Russia, Malaysia, the US, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Australia, India and Germany.
Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, TAT's deputy governor for policy and planning, said the authority will this month develop what it calls a “social listening system” under which it will collect significant data - such as the voices of customers and suppliers as well as weather forecasts and alerts and other helpful resources - from government and private organisations. The project will start operation and provide useful information to those involved in the tourism industry, both government and private operators, in December.
"The key challenge of the Tourism 4.0 era is the trend of using digital tools. It has become so popular for individual tourists and many travellers to use digital technology for all of their trips, both before and after travelling,” said Siripakorn.
“So, the TAT has developed Smart Data to be one of the tools to handle these challenges. It can keep and analyse the data that will benefit the tourism industry in the future.
“The TAT foresees the benefit and importance of applying digital technology in the organisation. Given this, the authority started the Tourism Smart Data Management project, which will become a key fundamental in smart data management on tourism, to be collected by the TAT and partners in the government and private sectors. Such tourism data will be classified and analysed to find its correlation, and to be scrutinised for maximum utility in the development of the local tourism industry," said Siripakorn, who gave the example of using tourism information in many strategic activities, ranging from community development and generating revenue to tourism destinations to setting plans for the tourism development of the country.
Siripakorn also spoke of the use of Smart Data in supporting the TAT's policy to promote tourism in the secondary cities, and that this plan will be prioritised by the government with the aim of reducing the concentration of tourism spending in the main cities and thus see more income flow into rural communities.
Further, Siripakorn said Smart Data will be an effective marketing tool in stimulating stakeholders in the tourism industry to check on information regarding the trends in tourism, so that they will be able to make preparations and develop their own locations as tourism destinations.
“Meanwhile, we at TAT have made an application called Thailand Tourism Map that provides information about 55 secondary tourism cities. The app technology will allow individual tourists to select different tourism destinations and tourism routes for their trip planning. The process can be conducted quite easily at their fingertips,” Siripakorn said.