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A romance-and-wedding theme will be the main strategy to lure British tourists to Thailand in the coming years.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to use the theme for its booth at the World Travel Mart 2013 in London.
Britons are among the top five highest-spending tourists in Thailand, and the TAT sees potential to grow the wedding and honeymoon segment.
It found that 300,000 British couples held weddings last year and 80,000 chose to hold ceremonies or honeymoon trips abroad.
Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, director of the TAT’s London office, said the agency is promoting Thailand as the first romance destination for British citizens, with beautiful beaches and luxury pool villas.
A TAT study showed 755,691 tourists visited Thailand from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 for honeymoon and wedding purposes, generating revenue of 29.9 billion baht.
“Thailand is one of the most popular long-haul honeymoon and wedding destinations for Britons,” Mr Siripakorn said.
The TAT plans to attract first-time visitors, families and honeymoon and wedding couples as well as older travellers aged 50 and above, who account for two-thirds of Britain’s population.
Although the European economic situation is experiencing an economic downturn and outbound tourism in Britain dropped by 5% last year, British visitors to Thailand grew by 3% to 873,053 in 2012.
Mr Siripakorn said British travellers, especially retirees and honeymooners, are interested in doing voluntary work on their travels. Many like to visit South Africa, and Thailand should promote this segment.
Big British travel agents are opening concept stores and promoting products through social media. Mr Siripakorn suggested the TAT use more social media and high-definition video file uploads to promote tourist destinations.
According to GfK Martketwise Ltd, couples from North Asia made up 29% of Thai tourism’s wedding segment from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, led by South Korea (11%), China (8%) and Hong Kong (6%). Following closely were those from Europe, at 28%, led by the United Kingdom (5%), France and Germany (3% each). Third in the ranking were couples from Asean, at 15%, led by Singapore (5%), Malaysia (4%) and Indonesia (2%).