TAT sets sights on Myanmar

Buddhist monks visit Myanmar’s landmark Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. (Post Today photo)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) sees the potential to promote Thailand as a medical tourism hub and family destination for Myanmar tourists.

The agency plans to appoint marketing representatives in the neighbouring country in September to promote these segments.

Walailak Noypayak, the TAT’s executive director for Asean, South Asia and South Pacific, said that while Myanmar’s economic growth has strengthened the purchasing power of its citizens, just 1.15 million of its 54 million citizens have travelled abroad.

“Myanmar people are well aware of the positive image of Thai tourism regarding its modernity, luxury products and perfect shopping places,” Ms Walailak said yesterday at a seminar entitled “AEC Focus: Myanmar 360 Degrees”.

“Thailand is the second most important destination for Myanmar tourists after China,” she said.

In the first four months of this year, tourist arrivals from Myanmar to Thailand rose by 39% to 142,331. The TAT expects 345,000 Myanmar visitors this year, up 26% from last year. Each is estimated to spend 43,000 baht per trip, up 5.7% — the highest increase among Asean travellers.

In 2017, the TAT projects Thailand will welcome 370,000 Myanmar visitors, up 7.3% from this year, and generate tourism income of 17 billion baht, up 13%. Spending per trip for Myanmar tourists is expected to grow 6.5% to 45,946 baht next year.

Potential tourists are families and those who are health-conscious, along with those seeking medical treatment, said Ms Walailak said.

The TAT hopes to woo Myanmar people want to buy famous Thai and foreign products at shopping malls. For Myanmar tourists, shopping expenses showed the highest proportion of their total spending or 35%, while 33% goes for accommodation.

About 55.6% of Myanmar travellers surveyed said they liked Thailand’s beaches and diving opportunities. Although Myanmar itself has beautiful beaches, it is lacking in facilities and luxury hotels.

Private hospitals in Thailand also have growth potential as there are already hospital representatives in Myanmar who help people come to Thailand to receive treatment, according to the TAT.

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Source: Bangkok Post



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