Thailand plans campaign to boost arrivals from Myanmar

Tourism officials in Thailand are planning a campaign aimed at attracting more visitors from Myanmar for shopping and medical care, a Bangkok newspaper reported.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand plans to appoint marketing executives in Myanmar to promote the trips, said Ms Walailak Noypayak, TAT’s executive director for ASEAN, South Asia and the South Pacific, the Bangkok Post reported on July 16.

Economic growth was strengthening the purchasing power of Myanmar’s 54 million citizens, of whom only 1.15 million had travelled abroad as tourists, Walailak told a seminar hosted by the TAT, the daily reported.

The seminar heard that 142,331 Myanmar tourists visited Thailand in the first four months of this year, up 39 percent over the same period last year, an increase partly due to the introduction last August of visa-free travel for travellers arriving by air.

TAT expects 345,000 Myanmar visitors this year, up 26 percent from last year. Each was expected to spend THB43,000 (about K1.45 million) a trip, up 5.7 percent on last year and the highest increase among visitors from other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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In 2017, TAT has forecast 370,000 Myanmar visitors, up 7.3 percent on this year, with each expected to spend THB45,946 a trip, up 6.5 percent.

TAT said shopping comprised the biggest share of total spending by Myanmar tourists, at 35 percent, followed by accommodation, 33 percent.

“Myanmar people are well aware of the positive image of Thai tourism regarding its modernity, luxury products and perfect shopping places,” Walailak said.

She said efforts to promote Thailand as a destination for medical tourism benefitted from having representatives offices in Myanmar of Thai hospitals.

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