By Mong Binh - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC - Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pinning high hopes that the number of Vietnamese travelers to the neighboring country will reach new levels of 550,000-600,000 this year owing to strong promotions there.
Pichai Raktasinha, director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Market Division at TAT, told the Daily about the new target last week when he joined an Amazing Thailand Products Presentation Show with Thailand’s hotels, travel agencies and operators of entertainment areas in HCMC.
TAT in HCMC put up the products presentation show to introduce to local tour operators what is on offer for Vietnamese travelers in Thailand and the support for them to work out tours to new destinations in addition to Bangkok and Pattaya – two places that have become popular among Vietnamese tourists.
Pichai said around 81,000 Vietnamese people traveled to Thailand in January and February, a whopping double-digit growth over the same period last year. If this momentum continues, Vietnamese tourist arrivals in Thailand this year will surpass 550,000 and reach 600,000.
The number of Vietnamese visitors to Thailand increased by 20% year-on-year to 490,000 last year, even when big floods hit Bangkok and its outlying areas. This together with new products launched gave TAT a reason to hope for more from this market in the ASEAN region.
Pichai analyzed factors for Thailand to be attractive to Vietnamese travelers. He said there was a significant rise in the number of young Vietnamese people touring Thailand with their family members and friends and the fact that new attractions helped Vietnamese come back to his country.
Around 30% of the Vietnamese visitors to Thailand return in recent years but Pichai expected that the percentage would continue to grow given an increase in the number of free individual travelers from Vietnam besides new buyers of package tours to that country.
More companies from Thailand have come to Vietnam to promote and sell their new products. The typical example was a group representing 10 hotels, four tour operators and three sites of interest making trips to Hanoi and HCMC from late March and early April for their sales trip.