TAT targets Eastern Europe
More direct flights could spur arrivals
The Tourism Authority of Thailand hopes its new office in Moscow and stepped-up marketing will help increase the number of tourists from Russia and Eastern European countries.
The agency expects the country to earn at least 5.5 billion baht from these tourist groups this year, up from 4.9 billion estimated last year.
Russian visitors to Thailand in 2006 totalled 190,834, up 78.32% from 2005 and the number of arrivals from Eastern Europe rose 46% to 95,312.
Based on arrivals at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, the number of Russian visitors in the first 100 months of 2007 totalled 182,752, up 53% year-on-year, and European arrivals rose 32% to 82,031.
TAT governor Phornsiri Manoharn said the agency had set aside six million baht for campaigns to attract more tourists from Russia and Eastern Europe. They will focus on key markets including major cities in the Czech Republic and Hungary, with a goal to increase arrivals from the two countries by 20% this year.
Mrs Phornsiri acknowledged that a shortage of direct flights between Bangkok and Eastern Europe was a problem. Some charter flights from Prague are now arranged by tour operators, she said.
She said that direct flights from Poland to Thailand were scheduled to start soon to accommodate high demand. As well, some budget airlines from Eastern Europe are expected to have long-haul services to Asia by 2010.
The TAT will hold roadshows this year in Moscow, St Petersburg, Kiev, Lisbon, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw.
The TAT is currently working with the organisers of the Miss Czech contest to have contestants stay in Phuket and Pattaya. Thai tourist attractions will be displayed on billboards around Prague for three months with advertising on radio stations as well as in magazines.
''Attractions in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket will be on the air for 24 minutes in the final round of the contest on March 15 through TV Nova, the highest-rated TV channel in the Czech Republic,'' Mrs Phornsiri added.