Led by growth from Australia and Europe, the value of foreign golf tourism to Thailand may reach 60 billion baht or $US 2 billion in 2012 for the first time.
Based on the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s forecast record 19 million inbound visitors to the kingdom in 2012, Thailand golf tourism could be worth $US 2 billion to Thailand next year. Three percent – or 600,000 – of all foreign tourists are expected to come to play golf.
Based on a Tourism Authority of Thailand forecast for a record 19 million inbound visitors to the kingdom next year, up to 600,000 foreign golf tourists – or three percent of the total – will make a beeline for its five major golf destinations: Bangkok, Phuket, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai.
According to Mark Siegel, whose company Golfasian is one of Thailand’s major inbound golf tour operators, foreign golf tourism into Thailand is continuing to grow, while he says golfers spend an average of 100,000 baht ($US 3,300) each on the ground – three times the average of other tourists.
With Thailand’s major golf courses reporting strong early bookings and forecasting growth above 2011, the estimated 57 billion baht ($US 1.9 billion) spent in Thailand by more than 500,000 inbound golf visitors this year should nudge 60 billion baht spent by up to 600,000 foreign golfers in 2012.
“It could be our best season ever. The political situation is calm, there have been no natural disasters [elsewhere] to deter tourism, and Thailand’s cultural capability to attract tourists remains streets ahead of other markets.”
Mark Siegel says.
The surge in golf tourism to Thailand will entrench the kingdom as by far Asia’s most popular destination for foreign golfers and one of the top three other golf destinations behind market leader Spain, which attracts almost a million golf tourists a year.
Even traditional golf destinations such as Scotland, Ireland and England – or the United States – can’t match Thailand’s year-round golf appeal, with prices about half the cost of most western markets. Thailand has 260 golf courses – 60 fewer than Spain, 200 fewer than Scotland and 100 less than Ireland.
Two new awards are adding to Thailand’s overall tourism aura. Bangkok has been voted the world’s best city by readers of Travel & Leisure magazine in the United States, while Thailand is the world’s fourth best country to visit and Phuket is the world’s 10th best island destination, according to UK magazine Condé Nast Traveller.
Although supplying only 10 to 15 percent of Thailand’s golf tourists compared with 65 percent from Europe, the strong Australian dollar and extra flights into Thailand are bringing more Australian golfers. Importantly for many tour operators and courses, Australia’s winter brings golfers from Down Under in Thailand’s low season between May and September, while Europeans overwhelmingly favour the November to March high season during their winter.
Rising long-haul demand and improving numbers from Japan and Korea also means members of Golf in a Kingdom: The Thai Golf Experience, a co-operative marketing group comprising Thailand’s top golf courses and hotels, are expecting a bumper high season from November to March and ongoing strong demand throughout 2012.
“There has been a dramatic improvement [in bookings]. When there is peace in Thailand it is the destination of choice because of its culture and value for money,”
says Prasertchai Phornprapha, managing director of Siam Country Club near Pattaya, a two-course complex that relies purely on pay-as-you-play visitors and is expecting to host 50,000 foreign golfers in 2012, half its total expected numbers.
Bangkok’s exclusive Thai Country Club, named by Asian Golf Monthly last year as Thailand’s best course and first runner-up in Asia, is also expecting a bumper season. General manager T.W. Hughes says his optimism follows one of the best high seasons ever in 2011.
“We believe this year will be at least equal to last year and perhaps even better, given those who experienced TCC are likely to want to repeat their experience. The course will be in the best condition in years and we continue to make upgrades in and around the rest of the club.”
Stacey Walton, the general manager of Banyan Golf Club at Hua Hin, 200 kilometres south of Bangkok, says the Tourism Authority of Thailand has done a good job in rebuilding Thailand’s image after protests in Bangkok during the past two years severely disrupted tourism for several months at a time. “We should see results from that,” he says. “November to February is looking especially strong and as the golf hub of Asia, Thailand will reap the benefits.”
Harald Ellison, general manager of nearby Black Mountain Golf Club, says forward bookings from Scandinavia, northern Europe and the United Kingdom are encouraging. The club, owned by Swedish interests, which hasn’t missed a day’s golf since it opened in 2007, will bring a new par-3 course into play by the end of the year to accompany its core 18-hole layout. The new island-dotted mini-course with water on every hole and heavy bunkering will be a test for golfers of all levels and is expected to be played by a large number of Black Mountain’s visitors.
Meanwhile, the Thai Government has high hopes for continued strong tourism growth over the next four years. Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism and Sports Minister, Chumpol Silpa-archa, announced a target of at least 30 million foreign inbound tourists by 2015, who he said were expected to generate national revenues of 1.4 trillion baht or $US466 billion at current exchange rates.
If achieved, the target would almost double inbound arrivals in just five years. And if inbound golf market’s share and expenditure remain at current levels, golf tourism will contribute 150 billion baht ($US 4.5 billion) to the Thai economy four years from now.
According to Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, “Responding to constant and incessant change has become our biggest challenge. As the country’s primary tourism marketing agency responsible for driving growth in one of Thailand’s most important socio-economic sectors, we spent the entire meeting trying to identify ways of ensuring an effective and efficient marketing plan.”
He said the TAT has set a 2012 target of 19.5 million international tourist arrivals, generating approximate revenue of 760 billion Baht (24.85 billion USD) increasing around 9 per cent above 2011. The target for domestic tourism is 93 million trips with revenue of 453 billion Baht (14.70 billion USD).
Thailand welcomes first Finnair flight from Stockholm to Phuket
Bangkok, 25 October, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) today welcomed the start of Finnair’s latest direct non-stop service from Stockholm to Phuket during the 2021-2022 winter season.
The welcoming ceremony was presided over by Mr. Piyapong Choowong, Phuket Vice Governor, and Mrs. Titiporn Manenate, TAT Executive Director for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East Region, as well as representatives from the tourism-related public and private sectors.
Mr. Piyapong Choowong, Phuket Vice Governor, said, “Finnair’s Stockholm-Phuket flight marks a milestone for the reopening of Phuket to international tourism, following the successful Phuket Sandbox programme, which was launched in July under well-planned health and safety precautions, and has now become a model for the reopening of other Thai destinations.”
Finnair will operate on the Stockholm-Phuket route from 24 October 2021-24 April 2022, starting with 2 flights per week. It will increase to 3 flights per week from 29 November 2021-17 April 2022.
Also, during this winter season, the airline will operate on the Stockholm-Bangkok route with 2 two flights per week from 22 October 2021 to 21 April 2022.
In addition, Finair will be operating from Helsinki, Finland, to Phuket and Bangkok, with 2-4 flights per week during November this year and March next year.
Mrs. Titiporn Manenate, TAT Executive Director for Europe, Africa and Middle East Region, said, “This latest Stockholm-Phuket flight also marks Finnair’s first non-stop service from Sweden to Thailand, allowing visitors from Sweden to escape winter and enjoy Thailand at its finest during the annual cool season. The flight also reiterates the airline’s confidence in Thailand as a destination.”
Sweden is Thailand’s largest source of visitors from the Nordic region. Also, Phuket is one of the most popular holiday destinations among the Swedish, whose spending per trip is averaged at 85,000 Baht per person and length of stay is 19 days.
Sweden and other Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway – are among the 46 approved countries and territories from where travellers may enter Thailand under the ‘Test & GO’ quarantine-free entry requirements from 1 November, 2021.
The post Thailand welcomes first Finnair flight from Stockholm to Phuket appeared first on TAT Newsroom.
More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021
Bangkok, 16 October, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide an update that more COVID-19 restrictions in the dark-red zone provinces have been relaxed while additional businesses and activities have been allowed to resume operations from today (16 October, 2021).
- Restaurants and eateries, cinemas, theatres, shopping malls, sport stadiums, and public parks are now allowed to resume normal opening hours, but must close no later than 22.00 Hrs.
- Convenience stores, fresh markets, and flea markets are now allowed to open for all types of goods with the opening hours extended for one hour longer or until 22.00 Hrs. All 24-hour shops must close nightly from 22.00-03.00 Hrs.
- Day-care centres for elderly people are now allowed to resume operations.
- Hotels, exhibition halls, convention halls, trade fair centres, or similar types of venues are now allowed to open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs.
- Shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments can also open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs., but must not hold any sales promotional activities and continue to close the amusement parks, water parks, and gaming centres.
- Public parks, sports stadiums, gyms, fitness centres, and all types of venues for exercise can resume normal opening hours, but no later than 22.00 Hrs.
Meanwhile, gaming centres in shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments that are not located in the dark-red zone province can now resume operations.
Curfew, Interprovincial Travel & Gatherings of people
To be in effect until 31 October, 2021, the night-time curfew in the dark-red zone provinces has been reduced from 6 to 4 hours, or between 23.00-03.00 Hrs.
Public and private organisations as well as people are still prohibited to organise any activities prone to the spread of disease, but the number of attendees has been increased for each zone. Dark-red zone: No gatherings of more than 50 people (from previously 25 people). Red zone: No gatherings of more than 100 people (from previously 50 people). Orange zone: No gatherings of more than 200 people (from previously 100 people).
Travel between dark-red zone provinces and other areas can resume normal operations but must apply social distancing measures.
All types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops are to remain closed. However, the government mentioned that these businesses may undertake preparation to be ready for reopening.
Self-protective measures and distancing efforts
As usual, people nationwide are asked to continue abiding by the health and safety measures in place; such as, wearing a face mask at all times while outside of their residence, regularly washing hands with soap and water/cleaning alcohol, and avoiding unnecessary close contact with others.
TAT would like to remind all travellers to continue with D-M-H-T-T-A precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.
Thailand’s colour-coding system for COVID-19 control are in place for the following provinces:
23 (down from 29) Maximum and Strict Controlled Areas or dark-red zone provinces
Central Region: Bangkok and 22 other provinces: Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, and Saraburi; Eastern Region: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, and Rayong; Northern Region: Tak, and Southern Region: Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala.
Chanthaburi and Nakhon Si Thammarat have been moved up from red to the dark-red zone.
30 (down from 37) Strict Controlled Areas or red zone provinces
Central Region: Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri; Eastern Region: Sa Kaeo and Trat; Northern Region: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, and Phetchabun; Northeastern Region: Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani, and Southern Region: Chumphon, Phatthalung, Ranong, Satun, Surat Thani, and Trang.
Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri have been moved down from the dark-red to red zone, while Surat Thani has been moved up from the orange zone.
24 (up from 11) Controlled Areas or orange zone provinces
Northern Region: Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, and Phrae, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit; Northeastern Region: Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Loei, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, and Yasothon, and Southern Region: Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Phuket.
Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, and Yasothon have been moved down from red to orange zone.
The post More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021 appeared first on TAT Newsroom.
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