March 28, 2014 00:00 By Watchiranont Thongtep
A record 1 million Singaporean tourists are expected to visit this year despite the political unrest here, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
“Last month after the imposition of the emergency decree, we witnessed a slight drop from this market, while some direct flights from Singapore to Bangkok were also cut. But we still strongly believe that we can achieve our target of 1 million tourist arrivals from this country,” Kanokkittika Kritwutikon, TAT director for Singapore and the Philippines, told The Nation yesterday.
To deal with the sensitive situation in Bangkok, TAT will promote other key destinations that Singaporeans can reach via direct flights to ensure a 10-per-cent increase in those visitors from 936,477 last year.
The recent lifting of the state of emergency in Bangkok should also help increase international tourists’ confidence to come to the country.
Besides promoting Bangkok as the main destination for Singaporeans, there are five other key destinations – Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Samui and Hat Yai – that fit their travelling needs, such as for gourmet tours and new tourist attractions and factory outlets where they could spend their weekends, she said.
In terms of available seats weekly, there are now 10,320 from Singapore to Phuket, 2,520 to Krabi, 1,988 to Samui, 1,340 to Chiang Mai and 1,260 to Hat Yai, on top of about 33,600 via Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok.
“Most important, Singaporean tourists have high purchasing power, with daily spending over Bt5,000 per person. They are also good repeaters,” Kanokkittika said.
TAT has partnered with Singapore travel agents to introduce “The Pleasure of the Island Paradise” package providing tourists an exclusive travel experience in Krabi, Phuket and Hat Yai and diving and snorkelling around Koh Lipe, in the Andaman Sea off Satun province.
TAT also supports Bangkok Airways in offering a four-day package called “Sabai Samui”, which is running until July 15.
From April 7 to May 4, TAT will celebrate Songkran with special marketing activities in cooperation with Bangkok Airways and ThaiExpress, one of the largest Thai restaurant chains in Singapore. These series of activities are aimed at helping promote Thai culture in this market.