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Tourism Authority of Thailand and Expedia ink MOU to drive tourism growth

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and Ms. Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, Director of Market Management of the Expedia Group, together announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to drive more valuable international travelers to the Kingdom.

Mr. Yuthasak said: “TAT has a vision to become the leader in promoting sustainable tourism in Thailand. We launched campaigns aiming to increase both domestic and international tourism early this year. TAT also launched the latest campaign ‘Amazing Thailand Go Local’ to promote the unique beauty of 55 secondary destination cities to travelers worldwide boasting each city’s unique features which we believe will meet the needs for the diverse range of tourists coming to Thailand. This collaboration with Expedia Group, through the signing of this MoU, will help boost tourism to secondary cities and also align with the government’s domestic tour personal income tax break campaign in 2018, aimed to promote tourism in these areas.”

Ms. Pimpawee Nopakitgumjorn, Director of Market Management of the Expedia Group, said: “The Expedia Group has been working closely with the primary destinations in driving year-round inbound traffic to Thailand. This MOU will forge a strategic collaboration that supports the TAT’s Action Plan to drive visitor flows to Thailand’s secondary cities, and help the country maintain its tourism leadership position in the Southeast Asia region. This MOU also supports the growth of the hospitality industry in these secondary tourist destinations by empowering hoteliers with the relevant digital expertise. Through the Expedia Group’s technology platform; such as, the Partner Central tool, hoteliers can boost their digital skills in revenue management, gather and respond to guest feedback more efficiently, and better manage online reviews. This is aligned with the country’s goal to develop its tourism industry’s ecosystem in an aim to generate more job opportunities and narrow the income gaps between the urban and rural areas.”

Mr. Yuthasak said: “Thailand is well-known as a vacation and business destination. Aside from the major tourist sites, we want to introduce the hidden beauties of our secondary cities to the world’s travelers. Each of these cities has its own unique charm, which we believe will appeal to different travelers. We launched the “Amazing Thailand Go Local” campaign recently as part of our efforts to promote tier two cities. We have chosen to collaborate with the Expedia Group through this MOU to help us accelerate our efforts.”

This strategic collaboration comes at an opportune time as high-value international travelers are already a driving force for the tourism boom in many of Thailand’s secondary cities, including Chiang Rai, Ko Lipe, Mae Hong Son, Trang, and Trat, with these locales being the most popular destinations and this inbound demand shows little sign of slowing down.

Ms. Pimpawee added: “A large majority of accommodation in Thailand’s secondary cities are still primarily offline, which means international travelers cannot find or book them easily. This results in missed opportunities for hoteliers, as they are not capitalizing on the growth of inbound travelers. We will be launching a series of initiatives to educate them on the value of online distribution. They will also have access to our partner facing tool, which allows them to effectively manage their rates and availability, online content and guest satisfaction. By improving the digital skills of the hospitality sector, we will play a pivotal role in boosting the local economy.”

As part of the MOU, the collaboration will include the sharing of traveler-centric insights and trends that will boost TAT’s capabilities to plan effective promotional campaigns to attract more travelers and encourage longer stays in Thailand. Both parties are also expected to embark on joint destination marketing campaigns to spotlight Thailand’s hidden and unique tourist attractions in its secondary cities, as well as promoting the variety of accommodation to Expedia Group’s 675+ million monthly visitors globally.

The Expedia Group will also launch key programmes in destination marketing and skills transfer to the local hospitality industry in secondary cities. Workshops for local hotel partners will include ways to leverage the Expedia Group’s Partner Central platform to accelerate skills development and build revenue and hotel management capabilities among local SME hotels.

Other aspects of the cooperation include a joint corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign aimed at enhancing environmental consciousness among hotels in Thailand and reducing the use of single-use and general plastic items in their properties. This is targeted at reducing environmental pollution and damage resulting from tourism growth.

“Tourism is an important contributor to Thailand’s economy, accounting for almost 10 percent of the GDP and 7 percent of jobs. As the world’s largest full-service online travel agency, the Expedia Group is proud to be a strategic tourism partner to the Kingdom of Thailand’s government, connecting Thailand’s tourism industry to more than 675 million travelers in the Expedia Group’s worldwide network,” said Mr. Ang Choo Pin, Senior Director for Government and Corporate Affairs, Asia at Expedia Group.

Mr. Ang added: “Through sharing our travel insights, as well as joint capacity building, digital marketing, and CSR efforts together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, we aim to be a force for good in Thailand, especially in sharing the benefits of tourism with more communities in secondary cities.”

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