Travel and tourism is a total market reflecting the demand of consumers for a very wide range of travel-related products. (Clarke, 2001) An interconnected and complementary set of attractions, events, services and products forms destination marketing. Attractions, events, services and products together create a total experience and value proposition to visitors.
(Kotler Marketing Group, 1999) As well known, destination market is one of world’s largest industries now. This industry is very important and has a great impact to the global economy in terms of investment, employment rate and growth of economy.
Moreover, tourism may improve worldwide social and cultural interactions and create a more harmony environment to the countries involved since better understanding among each other. If the country aims to host tourists in a way that leads to economic growth while balance the needs of the citizens of the city, then a structured and coordinated approach —— a marketing strategy — is the approach to achieving these goals.
Even though there are series of issues or incidents happened which had incurred negative impact to the worldwide tourism, World Tourism Organization forecasting that the tourism industry still has a huge potential growth. (World Tourism Organization, 2004)
This study considers destination marketing strategies for Thailand in the future five years. Thailand tourism has already well established for several decades, yet has been damaged by Asian Financial Crisis, Boxing Day tsunami, worldwide terrorist attacks, and so on.
Thailand is seems to have withstood the period of turmoil more successfully than other counties like Indonesia. Thailand tourism industry aims to become the top five destination marketing in the world by 2020.
Thailand tourism industry. The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia. Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China are close neighbours. Thailand’s territory exceeds 500,000 square kilometers. The meaning of Thailand is ‘land of the free’.
The capital is Bangkok which means ‘the city of angel’. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the seat of Thailand's revered Royal Family, with his Majesty the King recognized as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions.
(TAT, 2006) Since 1980s, Thailand achieves a rapid expansion in tourists’ arrivals with growth rates over 20%. Between 1985 and 1995, visitors rose from 2.4 to 6.9 million, approximate30% of these travelers are from Europe and America thus generating tourism receipts of US$6.617 million.
(Hall, 1997 6) Tourism had become a main source of foreign exchange and revenue in the Thai economy. In 2002, tourism receipts reached an annual average rate of 16.2%. Also, the tourism balance was at a record high of over US$6 billion. (Travel and Tourism – Thailand, 2005) (see appendix A) Again, Thailand tourism industry aims to become the top five destination marketing in the world by 2020.
The holiday market is dominated, attracting ten times as many arrivals as the next most important segment – business travel. (Travel and Tourism – Thailand, 2005)(see appendix B)Landscape is the most main attraction to tourists. Thailand has much to offer the tourist including a great diversity of landscape from the mountainous north to the tropical south with mountain scenery, fertile plains, and palm-fringed beaches. (Henderson, 1999)
Besides varied exotic landscape, rich history and outstanding culture is also an attraction. For instance, Mysterious Thai boxing, Thai food, Thai royal family and palaces form unique Thai culture which attract millions of visitors come every year. The Thai people's sincere love for the monarchy is unique. In 2006, Thailand has a year-long Grand Festival of Events nationwide to share their culture with all visitors in order to celebrate Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the Throne for 60 years. (TAT, 2006)
Besides that, 95% of Thai are Buddhists. Thai Buddhism comes down in one continuous line with Buddhism in other Asia countries. However, there are lots of characteristic Buddhism temples in each city. These temples attract thousands of visitors and Buddhists from different countries every year.