Thailand targets transit tourists
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced plans to launch a seven-month campaign to attract more transit tourists and stopover visitors to Bangkok.
To be run under the brand-name “Amazing Thailand Stopover”, the campaign will be launched at the ITB Berlin in March 2011, and continue until September 2011.
The TAT said that the campaign is designed to increase the number of transit tourists stopping over in Bangkok, and to “convert” stopover tourists into extended-stay tourists. It will also help enhance the awareness and exposure of Thailand’s global tourism campaign “Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You”, the TAT added.
Alliance partners will include Thai Airways International, the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), Thai Hotels Association (THA), Thailand Restaurant Association, Bangkok Metropolitan Administrative, Thailand Convention Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the State Railway of Thailand, Airport Rail Link, and Bangkok Transit System (BTS).
Full details of the campaign will be announced at an official ceremony in Berlin.
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport was served by 94 scheduled passenger airlines in 2010. Transit passengers through the airport totalled 1.53 million, up 5.64% over 2009.
TAT Governor, Suraphon Svetasreni, said; “We are hoping to attract at least 10% of these total transit passengers to take advantage of our special campaign. If they can be persuaded to take ‘appetiser’ tours of Thailand, they could be enticed to return for a more extended ‘main course’ visit to Thailand later.”
Although the TAT has offered stopover tours before, they were designed mainly for those transiting at Bangkok airport for less than 24 hours. Technically, those do not qualify to be included in the annual tally of visitor arrivals because they do not meet the global definition standard of a ‘tourist’, which requires a stay of a minimum of 24 hours.
The new campaign is designed to offer longer-stay stopover packages and help those who plan to change flights at Bangkok airport build the packages into their journey right.
Suraphon explained; “For example, we know that many Indian families have children studying in Australia. That generates a lot of VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) traffic in both directions. Certainly, that is an opportunity waiting to be tapped.”
He added that there were other target market segments with strong potential, such as, business travellers, MICE delegates, and even wedding parties.
The main campaign will comprise:
– Special tour packages targeted at specific market segments. These will be designed to meet the needs and time-availability patterns, and also include special prices of tour packages, special room rates, etc.
– Complimentary special offers as part of a value-added incentive to tour operators and passengers, in cooperation with alliance partners
– Major advertising and public relations activities to promote and publicise the campaign
“This campaign is a major enhancement over our past offers. Although our national airline, Thai Airways International is our preferred partner, we also hope to work closely with the many other airlines, especially the Star Alliance members, to attract more stopover visitors to Bangkok,” Suraphon concluded.