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Wednesday, 03 August, 2011, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

TAT strengthens branding via new Amazing Thailand campaign

To build on the already strong destination branding, Tourism Authority of Thailand will be looking to innovative marketing tools and platforms help ‘Amazing Thailand, Always Amazes You’ to reach niche segments. Rashmi Pradhan reports TAT’s marketing strategies for the Indian market in the coming years
Considering the appeal the ‘Amazing Thailand, Always Amazes You’ marketing campaign has evoked globally, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would be wise to stick to the same campaign in the coming years. Following its success, the agency will try to exploit modern communication channels to enhance the campaign’s visibility in future. TAT will also sponsor events to reach target segments in key markets, globally.

suraphon_svetasreni.jpgSpeaking about their targets for 2012, Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor, TAT, said, “Responding to constant and incessant change is now our biggest challenge. TAT has set a target of 19.5 million international tourist arrivals in 2012 to generate an estimated revenue of 760 billion Baht (USD 24.85 billion) – a growth of around nine per cent over 2011. The target for domestic tourism is 93 million trips with an expected revenue accrual of 453 billion Baht (USD 14.70 billion).” This year, greater focus will be on Domestic Tourism, with stress on boosting the image of domestic travel, organising activities to promote it, publicising new value for money products and services, and using domestic travel as a means for building national identity.

Marketing Action Plan
TAT has drafted the strategic Marketing Action Plan 2012 to drive tourism growth. The plan identifies six strategies: Promoting balanced tourism in various dimensions; generating sustainable growth for tourism income; strengthening and sharpening Thailand’s brand image; developing tourism in line with a growth-oriented economy; developing stronger and more effective partnership networks; and optimising internal management.

TAT has also identified eight specific marketing opportunities: Expanding the high-income market; expanding niche customer-segments; encouraging repeat travellers; attracting new markets; helping potential partners with win-win projects; enhancing use of IT media applications; helping products and services attract tourists; and increasing the capacity of industry stakeholders to deal with change and tap opportunities. Some of the specific activities to be carried out for this purpose include: Expanding niche markets; attracting new markets; using IT media applications; stimulating domestic travel; stimulating intra-regional travel; organising activities to encourage better care and preservation of tourist attractions, and creating activities for educational travel.

sethaphan_buddhani.jpgSpeaking about the marketing strategy employed thus far, Sethaphan Buddhani, Director, TAT, Mumbai Office said, “Apart from focusing on branding, TAT will be doing some dedicated ‘emotional advertising.’ Along with major metros, we are also looking to target Tier-II and Tier-III cities like Indore, Baroda, Aurangabad,
Nagpur, etc.”

Talking about business strategies, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Director, TAT, New Delhi Office said that TAT will engage in actively branding Thailand through various advertisements and promotional events. The TAT New Delhi office will work closely with travel agents and tour operators in Tier-I and Tier-II Indian cities to promote Thailand. “To create awareness, we will introduce joint advertisement programmes with Indian tour operators, organise road shows, sales missions, and other activities as in the past. We will also introduce an online programme for frontline staff of travel agencies to increase competitiveness and efficiencies for promoting Thailand,”
he added.

chattan_kunjara_na_ayudhya.jpgElaborating on the significance of India as a source market, Buddhani said, “India is among the top sources of inbound travel to Thailand vis-a-vis other ASEAN markets. We intend to enhance our marketing activities to secure a larger share of Indian outbound market. During 2010, over 791,000 Indians travelled to Thailand, and we expect this figure to cross 885,000 in 2011. Therefore, it has become increasingly important for us to reach out to new
niche segments.”

Targeting niche segments
In the last two years, TAT’s strategy in the market has been to lure travellers from niche segments such as golfers, wedding, and single women travellers. In 2011 and 2012, TAT will actively target Youth, School, Groups and Medical Tourism. Products such as Celebration, Wellness and Beauty Tourism will also be promoted. In Wellness and Beauty Tourism, TAT plans to promote minor activities such as face-lifting, teeth whitening and other therapies. “Our overall focus would be to lure high-income travellers and securing repeat travellers to new destinations in Thailand,”
informed Buddhani.

TAT is tapping the wedding segment as destination weddings are on the upswing in India. “The idea of hosting a wedding in Thailand is not only appealing, it is also cost-effective compared to India. Moreover, Thailand is well equipped with properties ideal for hosting Indian weddings,” informed Buddhani. TAT will also re-launch its wedding book which features venues, destinations and wedding suppliers in Thailand. “This book will be re-published with additional content. Besides this, we plan to offer direct incentives to Indian wedding planners for promoting Wedding Tourism, because we have found that providing direct incentives is better than advertising,” added Chattan.

Apart from weddings, TAT is also targeting sports and adventure enthusiasts, especially for golf and watersport activities. Thailand features world-class golf courses in Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok. Buddhani added, “We are looking at tapping the single women travellers and the wellness segment. Thailand is known for its spa therapies, and we are sure that the specialised treatments offered in Thailand will attract many visitors from here.”

Untapped destinations
TAT also plans to promote untapped destinations in the coming years. These include Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Rayong, Ko Chang and Kanchanaburi. “We will encourage our travel trade partners to formulate packages for untapped destinations. We are also advertising these destinations through various mediums,” he added. To educate travel agents and keep them abreast with new products, TAT plans to start an online training programme from late September 2011. The top 20 agents from the online training programme will be hosted by TAT to Thailand.
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