Having been to Bali repeatedly and proud to call several Australians my friends, I know a little something about Australian behavior. Firstly, they like to have words of their own that the rest of the world doesn’t know, like “arvo”. And “carpark” is often pronounced like “Cah-paack”.
This is as far as my expertise goes, but the Minister of tourism in Thailand has an entirely different view on these things. First of all, she tends to put things in an economical perspective. And the numbers she uses to guide her decisions are are astonishing.
Apparently 35 million tourists are expected in 2017, approx. half the population of the country itself. Since managing these numbers will become more of a challenge as Thailand’s neighboring countries become more and more mobile, the new strategy is to focus on quality instead of quantity.
INTEDED GROWTH OF 5% TOURISM REVENUE
Setting itself the target of 5% annual growth this year in total revenue from tourism, Tourism Minister Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul wants to focus on guests who stay for longer periods of time, with a bigger daily budget. And it turns out that the Australians tend to fit this description unlike any other tourist.
And it makes perfect sense; Australia is relatively isolated but Thailand is fairly close. On a more personal note, I would consider it safer and more idyllic than Bali, so the numbers do make sense.
Other interesting findings are that while UK-residents tend to stay longer, they happen to be almost 25% more stingy than their Australian counterparts. The biggest spenders by far tend to come from the Emirates, but with no numbers given on the average amount of days they like to spend in the Kingdom, I guess this group is not desirable enough.
WE WELCOME ALL TOURISTS IN CHIANG MAI
The article also illustrates the love-hate relationship the Thai tourist industry has with the Chinese, as they are truly an economical force to be reckoned with. Being thoroughly fed up with the bad press the so-called “Zero-dollar” tours were getting, the government stepped in last year, but affluent Chinese are still very welcome. As I tend to look at Chiang Mai as a little different from the resort areas in the South, with plenty of things to see and do, we invite all kinds of tourists and nations from all over the world to come to Chiang Mai and see everything for themselves. Just like the Australians and their behavior.