Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

TAT tries to boost weekday trips to counter traffic

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is encouraging Thais to take more trips between Monday and Thursday as a way to boost weekday tourism to make up 14% of all domestic tourism, or 23.8 million trips out of 170 million domestic trips taken this year.

Next year, the TAT wants to increase the ratio to 30%, or 55.5 million out of 185 million projected trips, fixing one of the obstructions to domestic tourism — congestion — while stimulating local markets, said Wiboon Nimitrwanich, the TAT’s executive director for the eastern region.

Last Friday the agency held a weekday tabletop sales event, offering packages from October 2019 to March 2020.

The event drew 98 sellers — tourism operators and service providers from every part of Thailand — and 57 buyers.

“The main target groups for weekday tourism are Mice and corporations, both categories that tend to have more activities during weekdays than independent tourists who seek a weekend getaway,” Mr Wiboon said.

Mice refers to meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.

Flooding in many areas may slow registration among operators who want to benefit from the 1,000-baht tourism handout and the 15% tourism cash rebate of up to 30,000 baht, Mr Wiboon said. As a result, participation continues to be low.

The TAT forecasts 41.7 million trips in the domestic market during the third quarter, up 6% year-on-year, generating 280 billion baht, up 5%.

Bangkok is seen accounting for 11 million trips during July to September, up 3% year-on-year, followed by the central and eastern regions at 10.5 million (+8%), 6.6 million for the northeastern region (+6%), 5.3 million for the South (+5%), 4.5 million for the East (+7%) and 3.5 million for the North (+6%).

For second-tier destinations, 19.4 million Thais are expected to visit 55 provinces nationwide, up 6%.

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