Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Thailand's TAT targets 10% growth

CHATRUDEE THEPARAT

The Tourism and Sports Ministry yesterday set its sights on raising the country's tourism revenue from foreign visitors by at least 10% in 2009 from an estimated 600 billion baht this year. According to Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kohsurat, the target is challenging given soaring oil prices and delays in logistics development that were expected to persist until next year.

The minister addressed domestic and overseas tourism officials at a meeting of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) held yesterday on the 2009 tourism marketing plan.

The 2009 plan would be completed this week before being presented to businesses next Monday for additional comments. ''Tourism products next year should be attractive enough and meet the demand of visitors to encourage spending,'' he said.

Mr Weerasak also urged authorities to focus on attracting more quality visitors, particularly ecotourists.

The ministry also pledged to ask the cabinet for TAT approval to set up three overseas offices in Bombay, India and Shanghai and Kunming in China.

The ministry also plans to negotiate with Airports of Thailand to cut its landing fees for airlines operating during non-peak hours.

TAT governor Phornsiri Manoharn said the marketing plan would focus on short-haul travel, and attracting upmarket groups that were projected to travel more in Asia.

She said that despite rising oil prices and political problems, the agency remained confident that the tourism revenue target would be achieved this year.

The TAT targeted tourism revenue of 600 billion baht at the end of this year from 15.48 million foreign visitors, with domestic tourists contributing 385 billion baht.

In 2007, Thailand welcomed 14.46 million foreign visitors, registering 4.65% growth over 2006.

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