The number of foreign visitors in the first six months of this year grew only 1.48% year-on-year to 19.76 million, according to the latest report from the ministry. This was attributed to numerous negative factors including the global economic slowdown, trade tension between China and the US, and the strong baht.
Tourism receipts gained 0.94% year-on-year.
The TAT must introduce plans to prop up three main markets – domestic, short- and long-haul international tourists, said TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
All these plans will be raised for discussion soon with the new tourism minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, said Mr Yuthasak.
To boost the domestic market, the TAT is planning to join with parcel delivery service providers such as Thailand Post and Kerry Express to help transport goods that exceed airlines' baggage limits for a low charge.
The plan is to encourage travellers to spend more when they travel, especially via budget airlines that have strict weight limits.
He said to lure foreign tourists, the TAT is considering partnering with airlines and travel agents to enhance tourism markets, particularly China, which fell nearly 5% in the first six months this year.
Earlier, Thai AirAsia chief executive Santisuk Klongchaiya said the airline is set to discuss with TAT a campaign designed especially for the Chinese market.
Mr Yuthasak said the TAT is pleased to work with the airline and other operators to offer campaigns to improve the tourism market.
Early this year, TAT signed letters of intent with large Chinese companies such as China Travel Services and Alipay of Ant Financial Services Group to cooperate on facilitating Chinese tourists visiting Thailand.
TAT offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Kunming are also working on campaigns to lure tourists during China’s golden week, which will run from Oct 1 to 7.
In terms of digitisation, which has become a tourism trend for younger tourists, the TAT is working with Shopee, a Singapore-based online shopping platform, to sell excursion packages in Thailand. Such products are expected to be launched very soon.
Earlier this year, the agency signed a contract with Expedia, an online travel agent (OTA), with more OTAs in the pipeline to promote Thai tourism on their platforms.
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