AssociationTourism Authority of Thailand celebrates one million Singaporean visitors to Thailand.

Thanks a million, Singapore!

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Kajorndet Apichartrakul, director, Singapore and the Philippines, Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Kajorndet Apichartrakul, director, Singapore and the Philippines, Tourism Authority of Thailand.

In 2017, TAT hit a major milestone: for the first time, the annual arrivals from Singapore, by nationality, hit the one million mark. Considering that there are just 3.44 million Singaporean citizens (excluding foreigners and permanent residents), this is a very big deal indeed.

Singaporeans have a healthy love affair with Thailand — and it shows. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), annual arrival numbers from Singapore, by residence, have always exceeded one million in past years. 

However, in 2017, TAT hit a major milestone: for the first time, the annual arrivals from Singapore, by nationality, hit the one million mark. Considering that there are just 3.44 million Singaporean citizens (excluding foreigners and permanent residents), this is a very big deal indeed.

We speak to Kajorndet Apichartrakul, director, Singapore and the Philippines, TAT, to find out about the ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign, what Singaporeans love to do in Thailand, as well as his plans for 2019.

Congratulations on the major milestone! How do you feel about this achievement?

We are extremely delighted to have hit this record for the calendar year of 2017. We are heartened by the performance of repeat visitors [from Singapore], which clearly shows the appeal of Thailand.

What is it about Thailand that Singaporeans love so much?

I think Singaporeans like the familiarity of the sights, sounds and smells of Thailand. I have come across many who see Thailand as their second home. For tourists, I think Thailand offers a good respite from their everyday lives. You can pamper yourself with posh hotels, food, shopping and spa, not to mention our culture and nature. Even for seasoned visitors, there are always fresh tourism products rolled out. Thailand is always evolving.

Beyond Bangkok, what destinations are favoured by Singaporeans?

Other popular places for Singaporeans include the northeastern region of Khao Yai, as well as Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin in the central region. After the high-profile rescue of the Thai footballers at the Tham Luang cave, Chiang Rai is also getting a lot more attention. Frankly, with 77 provinces in the Kingdom, there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. This fits perfectly with our ‘Go Local’ campaign — a landmark project that balances the distribution of tourist arrivals between first- and second-tier provinces.

What success are you having with more niche activities?

Niche activities such as golfing and self-drives are popular with Singaporeans. With more than 250 golf courses around the country, golfers will surely enjoy our awe-inspiring landscapes, as well as authentic Thai hospitality and services. In recent years, self-drives too have become more popular, with many clubs and associations organising drives up to Thailand. This trend showcases the confidence and faith in our roads and infrastructures. Another area that is gaining traction is sports tourism, specifically with regard to diving, cycling and marathoning. The variety of sporting events held in Thailand all year round sets the perfect ambience for sports enthusiasts.

As you know, Singaporeans love food. How important is gastronomy to your product mix?

Gastronomy is an integral part of our product mix. From street food, royal Thai cuisine and Michelin restaurants to local snacks, they all have huge followings. The coming 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide Bangkok, Phuket and Phang-nga will feature Thailand’s [other] vibrant food cities with a wealth of accommodation options in a single guidebook.

What are your goals for 2019 and beyond?

Maintaining or even exceeding our current arrival numbers from Singapore is our goal for 2019. We aim to achieve a longer length of stay and an increase in tourism spending among Singaporean visitors, whose average length of stay is 5.47 days and average spending per trip is THB 35,652. Through the umbrella marketing campaign, ‘Open to the New Shades’, we will unveil ‘A Million More Shades of Thailand’, starting with [a focus on] gastronomy, lifestyle and hidden gems of Thai arts and culture. Furthermore, we will focus on the ‘active seniors’ market for repeated visits, since this group of travellers now enjoy both freedom of time and finances to explore and travel. For first-time visitors, we will tap the ‘youth & millennials’ segment. Their tech-savvy lifestyle will surely be a boon to Thailand.

Of course, more stringent safety measures will be established. We are committed to work with stakeholders to create a tourism climate that takes the environment, economy and social sustainability into consideration. Through our joint effort, we will strive to achieve the continued love for Thailand among travellers. 

CAMPAIGN PERIOD: August 1 to November 30, 2018
GIFT REDEMPTION: redeem THB 500 worth of cash shopping vouchers per adult or child when Singaporeans book their trips to Thailand (while stocks last)
4-TO-GO BONUS: book with minimum of four persons in a single booking receipt and redeem an additional THB 500 cash shopping vouchers per adult or child (total of THB 1,000 per person)
LUCKY DRAW: For bookings before the campaign period, visitors are eligible for the monthly lucky draw. Prizes include travel package for two to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Samui and cruise to Laem Chabang

To find out more, visit WWW.THANKSAMILLION.SG

Look out for this story in the upcoming September 2018 issue of Travel Weekly Asia.

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