TAT’s Targeted Marketing Approach Gets Good Results at ITB Berlin

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In spite of difficult economic and trading conditions in Europe, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has reported a good response to the kingdom’s participation in the Internationale Tourismus Borse (ITB) 2013, the world’s largest travel trade show, held in the German capital of Berlin between 6-10 March 2013.

Thanks to proper research and market analysis, TAT was able to help the Thai industry present the right product to the right customer at the right price. The way of the future lies in niche markets and the emerging markets of Europe, and those were the key customer segments highlighted to maintain buyers’ interest in a highly-competitive and rapidly-changing industry dominated by the increasing impact of technology, changing demographics, and a slowdown in European economies.

This year, the 38th year of Thailand’s participation in the ITB, the Thai contingent comprised 108 private sector companies including 93 hotels, 11 travel agents, and 4 other related services. The covering theme was presenting “Thainess to the World”. Individual booths were also taken by Phuket, Pattaya, Samui, Phang-nga, Krabi and Chiang Mai, in addition to Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, the Airports of Thailand, and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

In addition to the thousands of buyers and media, TAT noted that more than 250 bloggers would be attending the show and covering it through their social media. This was a key factor in the TAT’s publicity-generation strategy. At the same time, TAT maintained the long-term strategy by organising activities catering specifically to the interest in sustainable tourism.

Here is a list of some core activities TAT organised at the ITB Berlin 2013.

Thailand Mini Mart: For the first time, TAT organised a show-within-a-show, a Table Top specifically for Thai sellers to meet with 22 invited travel agents from 12 countries, viz., Belarus, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Italy Morocco, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Tunisia, and Turkey. Most of them were travel agents from secondary cities and also medium-sized companies not generally well-known among Thai tourism operators. This was designed to help penetrate new source markets and generate more first-time visitors. A private setting was conducive to effective business discussions. This event proved successful and TAT received many requests to organise it again next year.

Thailand Networking Lunch: More than 120 tour operators and media based in Europe were invited to this event. Presentations were made about the upcoming new hotels, tourist attractions, new developments at Phuket and Don Mueang International Airports, facilities, and infrastructure update.

Presentation on “Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You” Campaign: This was designed to reinforce the underlying value proposition of Thailand’s core marketing slogan and position Thailand as a destination of great variety in terms of products, services, and attractions. A product presentation on “Thainess” was made at the Networking Lunch.

Green Award Presentation: HRH Princess Ubolratana was invited to preside over the awards ceremony to German tour operators who support and promote Thai environment conservation efforts and offer green tourism packages. The award-winners were:
1.    Best Large Tour Operator: Intrepid Travel GmbH
2.    Best Small Tour Operator: a&e erleb nis:reisen
3.    Best Green Media: Mr. Harald Schmid
4.    Best Green Corporate: Bayer Thai Co., Ltd.

In addition to the traditional buyers from established European source markets, Thai tourism operators also sought out new buyers from Hungary, Poland, South Africa, and the Middle East countries; such as, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

According to Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand, “The European tour operators have to cater to a variety of different customers with many different needs. Yes, cost is important, but there is also good demand for sustainable and innovative products. It will be very important for us to continue to pay attention to these segments.”

The Governor noted that popular tourist attractions for European tourists are Phuket, Samui, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, but there is growing interest in Green tourism to north Thailand destinations; such as, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Also noticeable was promising demand for new beach destinations; such as, Ko Kut, Ko Kradan, Ko Madsum, Ko Tachai etc., especially amongst repeat visitors.

At the same time, visitors are also venturing beyond to the Greater Mekong Subregion countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR., Myanmar and Vietnam. Mr. Suraphon complimented Indonesia for its participation as a Partner Country in this year’s ITB. “This is good for the entire ASEAN fraternity and will go a long way towards ensuring that strong demand for our 10 ASEAN countries, in line with our joint marketing strategy. It also complements the presence and growing popularity of Myanmar, also an ASEAN member.”

Finally, the Thai participation ended on a high note when Thailand was conferred the Most Popular Destination in Asia award by the major German tour operator Go Asia.

In January – February 2013, Thailand welcomed 4.56 million arrivals, up 18.81% over the same period of 2012 with a market-share breakdown of 52.70% from the East Asia region, 31.81% (Europe), 4.88% (The Americas), 4.39% (South Asia), 3.72% (Oceania), 1.94% (Middle East) and 0.55% (Africa). The statistics showed 1.45 million arrivals from Europe, up 6.70%. Russia (393,700) has now become the top European source market, followed by Germany (162,550), and the United Kingdom (161,697).

In 2012, Thailand received total visitor arrivals of 22.3 million, up 15.98% over 2011. For 2013, TAT is targeting 24.09 million international arrivals, generating approximate revenue of 1.097 billion Baht.

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International Public Relation Department
TAT News
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