Targeting Niche Asian Tourism Markets

Targeting Niche Asian Tourism Markets
Targeting Niche Asian Tourism Markets

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has a new scheme to target niche tourist markets such as Indonesian, Vietnamese and Malaysia women as well as young Indian and Japanese travellers.

Under the plan, the agency will focus on young tourists from Japan and India, female travelers from Indonesia, Muslim tourists from Malaysia and the high-end market from Vietnam. Moving to niche markets is part of TAT’s strategy to spread visitors out of major cities into secondary provinces and promote weekday tourism. TAT has just opened a new office in Japan’s Fukuoka to capitalize on high-potential markets in prefectures in the southern part of that country, such as Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Ehime, Kochi, Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa.

Fukuoka is the largest city on Kyushu Island, with the region’s main business center and largest international airport. There are now daily direct flights linking Bangkok to Fukuoka, and direct flights between Bangkok and Okinawa. Charter flights operate between Bangkok and some provinces in Kyushu and Chugoku. A two year tourism cooperation agreement between TAT and the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation was signed in February this year to promote travel between the two countries. Signing a Kyushu – Thailand agreement TAT will work with Japan’s High School Golf Association to organise trips by local tour operators to Thailand, with the aim of increasing visits from students and young tourists from southern Japan. Younger generations have become high-potential markets, along with special interest groups, marathon runners, golfers and divers. In 2017, Thailand recorded 1.54 million arrivals from Japan, generating 67.5 billion THB, a year-on-year increase of 7.3% and 9.7%, respectively. Japanese tourists spend on average 5,353 THB per day, with an average length of stay of eight days. In January to October 2018, Japanese visitors to Thailand totalled 1.35 million, generating an estimated 58.7 billion THB in tourism income. In 2018, Japanese tourists to Thailand are projected to increase by 7.5% to 1.63 million, earning an estimated 73.4 billion THB in tourism income, up by 9%. In 2019, TAT is targeting 1.68 million Japanese visitors generating an estimated 77.5 billion THB. For the Indian market, Cholada Siddhivarn, director of TAT’s Mumbai office, said the segment is growing significantly thanks to increasing airline links with India’s secondary cities.

The sheer geographic, ethnic and cultural diversity of India represents a huge opportunity because of the numerous holidays celebrated by each of the different states and religious groups. In addition, the country has 600 million young people, many of them with both the money and desire to travel. From January to October 2018, visitors from India to Thailand totalled 1.28 million, an increase of 11% from the same period last year. Busakorn Prommanot (centre) at a TAT event in Jakarta Busakorn Prommanot, director of the TAT Jakarta office, said the 35% uptick in the number of female Indonesian travelers to Thailand underscores the important role played by women in choosing destinations. The gender ratio of Indonesian visitors has changed from 45:55 femaleto- male in 2013, to 57:43 in 2016. The number of Indonesians visiting Thailand during first 10 months this year totalled 524,735, a 10.9% increase year-on-year.

For the Malaysia market, 61% of the population is Muslim so tourist destinations need to offer halal food, products and services. Visitors from Malaysia totalled 3.17 million from January to October 2018, growth of 12.7% year-on-year. Direct flights between Chiang Mai and Hanoi commence in 2018, but Hua Hin remains unconnected Napasorn Kakai, director of the TAT Ho Chi Minh City office, said Thailand has 210 weekly flights linking key cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Phu Quoc, Da Nang and Dalat to Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Hua Hin is not mentioned as a likely flight destination.

The TAT projects total visitors from Vietnam to Thailand will exceed 1 million in 2018. In Vietnam, TAT is starting to penetrate the upper-income market by focusing on finedining at Michelin-starred restaurants, health and wellness, family attractions and business travelers. – Bangkok Post