TAT lifts tourism target for Europe

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has raised its 2014 revenue and arrival targets from Europe thanks to its positive economic trend.

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The new revenue target from the European market will be 468 billion baht, up from 461 billion baht, a rise to 13% from 11%. The arrivals will reach 6.9 million, up from 6.87 million, a surge to 11% from 9%.

But the year-on-year target remains at 17.1 million for East Asia, a 7.97% growth, and 1.37 million for South Asia, a 3.85% rise.

TAT said the industry has been hit by the political impasse since the end of October. The imposition of a state of emergency on Jan 21 aggravated the problem, with 50 countries issuing travel advisory warnings.

Arrivals from sensitive markets such as China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea have significantly declined.

In the first two months of this year, year-on-year arrivals from East Asia dropped by 11.5% to 2.25 million with revenue shrinking 14.47% to 74.2 billion baht. South Asia was down 11.5% to 174,379 visitors with revenue dipping 10.1% to 6.22 billion baht.

Arrivals from Europe rose 8.65% to 1.57 million with revenue growing 9.26% to 102.11 billion baht.

TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik said he assigned offices in Europe to boost European market thanks to positive economic trend especially during the rainy season.

However, Mr Thawatchai said political problems remain a key challenge. If the problem cannot be solved by June, international tourist arrivals will drop more than 10% in the first half.

Mr Thanwatchai said the agency will shift to focus on domestic tourism to offset the decline in  foreign tourists.

TAT on Monday revealed its poll on domestic tourism during the long weekend in April that 50.6% of respondents planned to travel to popular destinations including Chiang Mai, Phuket and Chon Buri. Songkran is key to boosting tourism.

The poll found that 50.8% of tourism operators have been hurt by local political problems but 79.2% of them were confident that tourism will revive during the long Songkran weekend. The poll was conducted among 1,800 respondents (tourists and tourism operators) in six major destinations early March.

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