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Buyers pull out of TTM Plus, Thailand slashes arrivals target for 2014
Greg Lowe, reporting from Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2014, Bangkok, June 6, 2014

THE Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has cut its arrivals target for this year by 2.6 million with a corresponding 96 billion baht (US$2.9 billion) drop in revenue projected due to the country's protracted political crisis.


Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said the NTO was forced to revise down its original target of 28 million arrivals and revenue of 1.4 trillion baht, but remained bullish that tourism would bounce back. He said: “We are planning a number of special festivals and events to attract tourists.”


Thawatchai said TAT has arranged for a major international singer to perform in Thailand, is bringing 1,000 top travel buyers for a major fam trip, and pushing for an additional undisclosed marketing budget that should help it net 25.9 million arrivals.


The governor will also work with local specialist groundhandlers to strengthen ties with China. He was unfazed by a group of 20 buyers pulling out of Thailand Travel Mart Plus at the last minute. “I'm not too bothered by that; we'll be looking for higher quality buyers and also hold talks at a government-to-government level,” he told TTG Asia e-Daily.


Plans to develop an insurance fund for tourists are also underway.


On the trade front, DMCs said it was still too early to assess the full extent of the damage to the tourism industry caused by the political crisis.


Tobias Fischer, business development manager at Go Vacation Thailand said: “Until there's some sort of end in sight to the current situation there's no point in investing much in (hotel) promotions.Tourists need to feel confident about coming to Thailand again."


“Also, hotel promotions or discounts alone won't work, they would need to be supported by promotions from airlines as well.”


Wasinee Kunlawat, group sales manage for Asia and Africa at Exotissimo Travel said she was offering some promotions for the Middle East market but explained that it was "not a special promotion to win tourists back because of the political situation".


“The best we can do on that front is to send out regular updates on the situation to clients," she said.


*The article originally quoted Tobias Fischer, business development manager at Go Vacation Thailand, as saying "there's no point in investing much in promotions or marketing”, which was inaccurate and has since been edited for clarity. 

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