The Deputy Prime Minister in Thailand has said hotels, businesses and private hospitals should refrain from offering big discounts to lure tourists.
Instead, they should focus instead on raising the country’s value as a premium travel destination, Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday.
After a pandemic and over 18 months of complex and expensive entry requirements, Thailand’s tourism industry has seen a steady recovery in the first half of the year, with about 2 million foreign visitors.
In his remarks at a Thailand Moving Together event at Suvarnabhumi airport to promote tourism, Mr. Anutin said, “We cannot let people stay because of its low cost.”
He echoed comments from Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, saying it’s more effective to say “because it works, it’s reasonable”.
Anutin compared the approach to Louis Vuitton‘s luxury fashion brand.
His advice was to “hold your ground and sell premium. The more expensive, the more customers you will get”. It wouldn’t be possible for Louis Vuitton to sell anything otherwise.”
A popular tourist destination in Asia, Thailand welcomed nearly 40 million visitors in 2018. They spent 1.91 trillion baht, equivalent to 11% of GDP in pre-pandemic 2019.
Despite calibrated moves to end quarantine requirements, arrivals dropped to 6.7 million the following year and to 428,000 in 2021. In 2022, 10 million foreigners are expected to be travelling to Thailand.
In spite of the pandemic, the government earlier this year launched a long-term visa program for wealthy foreigners and skilled workers, hoping to attract high-spenders.