AT sticks to its guns on tourism forecasts

AT sticks to its guns on tourism forecasts

TAT believes it can hit the 2010 target despite all external factors.

Tourism Authority of Thailand told the private sector, yesterday, it is keeping faith with its  2010 target of 14 million arrivals and 90 million domestic trips generating a revenue of Bt960 billion.

It made the announcement at its marketing plan presentation to the travel industry, yesterday afternoon at the Queen Sirikit Convention Centre.

The agency projects an increase of 5.6% in 2010 over this year's arrivals which it claims will reach 13.2 million.

Most private sector executives were cynical claiming the estimates were based on inaccurate research and failed to recognise that tourist arrivals this year could fall to 11 or 12 million visitors.

They blame the inaccuracies in forecasting on political agendas, the need to justify bigger budgets and a reckless attitude that places marketing before the desperate need to renovate,  redevelop and reposition a tired travel product.

International tourists are expected to generated revenue at Bt53 billion, next year, representing a 6.4% increase in revenue over its Bt49 billion estimate for 2009. Domestic trips will increase 3.38% with a circulating revenue of Bt430,000 million and representing a 5.5% increase.

TAT acting governor and deputy governor for administration, Pensuda Priaram, and TAT deputy governor for policy and planning, Suraphon Svetasreni, outlined a 2010 marketing plan saying the agency would continue to use the "Amazing Thailand Amazing Value" to reinforce the country's position as a cost-effective destination.

It promised travel executives it would continue to expand market coverage, in spite of decreasing arrivals this year. Two new offices will be opened this year in Kunming, China, and Mumbai, India.

In 2010, it will open an office in Jakarta, Indonesia. TAT covers 45 to 50 markets through its overseas offices and representatives.

According to Ms Pensuda, authority will focus on two potential markets next year - South Asia and the Middle East - that have proved more resilient.

The objective is to draw 823,000 tourists from South Asia, representing a 13% increase and revenue of Bt25 billion, or 15.4% growth. It is also forecasting 450,000 tourists from the Middle East countries with a spending of Bt19 billion.

Asia market should grow 3.8% with 6.9 million visitors and bring in a revenue of Bt162 billion.

Europe should generate 4.7 million visits and a revenue of Bt237 billion. Tourists from the Americas and Oceania should grow by 4.9 and 4.2% respectively, with revenue of Bt46 billion and Bt37 billion.

However, some markets such as East Asia particularly Japan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong are expected to drop by 14.9% to 6.7 million visitors. Revenue from this market will fall by 21.7% to Bt156 billion. Africa will also to plunge by 17% to 90,000 tourists.