Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has come up with a series of marketing plans aimed at luring foreign arrivals and speeding up the tourism industry’s rebound.
One of the plans is to offer incentives and deals for Chinese visitors from the same clans or with the same surnames as Thai-Chinese people.
“This program is like inviting relatives you didn’t know about from the mainland to visit us,” Mr Phiphat said. “This will help tighten our relationship with the Chinese.”
The ministry will initially promote the plan in Guangzhou in southern China, a region from which many Thai-Chinese families originate.
Mr Phiphat said the ministry will work with the United Chinese Clans Association of Thailand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to implement the plan.
The targets are premium Chinese tourists with high spending power who take longer trips of 14-15 days.
The ministry is also planning to promote tourism in the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam) region by offering the Spirit Road and Meditation program.
Tourism in several markets is on the decline, especially in China and Europe, and the ministry plans to hold some roadshows to solve the problem.
In the first eight months of this year, foreign arrivals to Thailand grew by 2.6% to 26.5 million people, contributing 1.29 trillion baht in tourism revenue, up 3%.
Domestic tourism also performed fairly, increasing by 1.3% to 104 million trips.
In order to boost domestic travel, a marketing campaign called “Tasting, Shopping and Spending” will be used in small towns.
Under the scheme, local communities will prepare facilities and accommodation, especially homestays, to cope with visitor growth.
“About 300 homestays have registered with the Tourism Department, and we will try to increase the volume to 600 by year-end and over 1,500 next year,” Mr Phiphat said.
The minister said a 100-baht lucky draw campaign will be offered on auspicious dates such as 10/10 (Oct 10), 11/11 (Nov 11) and 12/12 (Dec 12).
Winners can get big discounts for airline tickets, hotel rooms and shopping vouchers, on the condition that they bring friends or family members.
The campaign will be tabled for cabinet consideration soon, Mr Phiphat said.