In the past week I had the pleasure to meet some readers of COTRI WEEKLY and other colleagues from many countries during a workshop in Shanghai and during the first day of the PATAcademy in Bangkok, I had the honour of running on behalf of COTRI, presenting parts of CTT China Tourism Training as well as direct presentations and discussions.
Some insights from the discussions with NTO, DMO as well as private tourism service provider company representatives from more than ten different Asian countries (additionally from South Africa and Germany) are maybe interesting to share with the COTRI WEEKLY readers.
First of all, everybody is convinced that the Chinese outbound market is here to stay. Even with a slowdown of growth for some categories of destinations, such as the traditional bigger host countries; Germany, USA, Australia and most island destinations, all are united in the idea that more has to be done to keep the momentum of arrivals from China coming.
Secondly, where tourism ministries still work to target numbers of arrivals, practitioners have understood that what we call the ‘COTRI Ladder of Success’ is important: number of overnights is more important than arrivals, spending is more important than overnights, margin level is more important than spending, satisfaction of visitors is more important than margin and non-alienation of local is more important that satisfied visitors.
Thirdly, as part of that insight, destinations are trying to move up-market, many of them by offering customised or themed products, by adapting offers for specific market segments and by going into niche markets such as health tourism or summer camps.
On the same day the PATAcademy was held in Bangkok, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) presented their 2020 Action Plan for tourism. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said that TAT “will place greater focus on market segmentation and potential niche market groups”. The share of visitors to Thailand who enjoy an annual income of 60,000 USD or more should rise from 13% to 20% in 2021. In correlation to this, the ratio of tourism receipts from major cities tourists compared with second-tier province tourists is hoped to be brought down from 87:13 in 2018 to 80:20 in 2022. Out of the 38 million international arrivals to Thailand in 2018, more than 10 million originated in China. So also for Thailand such policies, based on a thorough understanding of the market, will be necessary to implement for the Chinese market not only to turn around the decline of arrival numbers in the last twelve months, but to increase the quality of the visitors and the quality of their experiences as well.
With best wishes for the week,
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI WEEKLY team