One way to deal with reduced demand from long-haul markets due to the global economic slowdown is to promote niche tourism offerings, which is exactly what Thailand is doing this year. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is refocusing its strategies to focus on key niche markets such as golf, weddings and honeymoons, ecotourism, and health and wellness. Visitors from countries like India, South Korea, Japan, France, the US and the UAE are expressing rapidly-growing interest in weddings and honeymoons, for example.
Andrew Jacka, director of Spa Origins and president of the Thai Spa Association: “Thailand, with its traditionally strong family units and long history of nurturing and caring, is well suited to be a player in the health and wellness industry.”
Chananya Phataraprasit, executive director of Asian Oasis, a lodging and cruise operator in Thailand and Laos: "Ecotourism opens up a whole new dimension of possibilities for tourists looking for something really different from their trip to Thailand. These possibilities include getting closer to nature and the local environment, first-hand cultural experiences, deepening their understanding, or actually working to give something back to the communities they visit.”
[pictured: Phuket; photo courtesy TAT]