Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently launched its new marketing concept 'Open to the New Shades' in India. Speaking exclusively to Khushi Qazi at the launch event, TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn talks about what the concept reflects and what it has in store for Indian tourists. Yuthasak Supasorn has been the governor of TAT since September 1, 2015.
Having studied economics in Thailand and Japan, and with more than 20 years of experience in management positions at government agencies and state-run organisations, he brings a great deal of experience to this vital role.
How has the Indian market developed for Thailand's tourism?
India is now one of our top ten sources of visitor arrivals. In 2017, Thailand recorded 1.41 million visitor arrivals from India, up by 18 per cent over 2016, generating an estimated Rs 120 billion in tourism income. We are targeting a revenue growth of 12 per cent for the Indian market in 2018. More and more Indian travellers are diversifying beyond their traditional spots of Bangkok and Pattaya and exploring Chiang Rai, Rayong, Trat, Hua Hin and Samut Songkram.
What does the 'Open to New Shade' marketing concept reflect?
The Open to the New Shades concept is about asking visitors to ‘open’ their minds and hearts to deepen and widen their experiences into a new perception of attractions and variety of experiences in Thailand. The communication campaign will introduce brand-new products to visitors, or reveal a new charming character of well-known destinations through creativity. This campaign is aimed at attracting more repeat visitors and also first-time visitors. The demographics of visitors to Thailand is evolving. We also have to target many different kinds of customer segments worldwide ranging from first-time visitors to repeaters, senior citizens to sports enthusiasts, and many more. In summary, with the exception of winter and snow holidays, we would like to believe that Thailand is a destination with something unique and memorable for everyone, regardless of their preference. And that is what this concept will highlight.
What is the average length of the stay of an Indian tourist and how does this concept help in increasing the length of the stay?
The average length of the stay is one week. We would tell the Indian tourists not to just visit Thailand to visit the beaches. For example, Indians enjoy Pattaya very much. I would like to tell them to take out the time and go further and visit Suan Supatra Land, the land of fruits. Or visit some quieter beaches. I would ask Indians to 'Go Local' to enjoy Thailand truly.
What have you done to make air travel easier for tourists?
We changed our air traffic policy two years back. Indians can receive visa-on-arrival facilities at Thailand’s international checkpoints. Bilateral airline capacity is at an all-time high with 240 weekly flights between Thailand and 17 major cities in India by 11 airlines like Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo Airlines, Spice Jet, Thai Air Asia, Bhutan Airlines, Druk Air, Garuda Indonesia and Thai Smile.
Does 'Open to the New Shades' campaign incorporate Bollywood to attract more Indian tourists?
Thailand loves Bollywood. We are thinking right now how to link Bollywood to our campaign. We are discussing the overall cost it would take to get Bollywood involved in our campaign and to sign a Bollywood celebrity to promote Thai tourism.