Thailand expects to recover from recent incidents of civilian unrest that undermined its tourism industry and welcome 15.5 foreign visitors in 2011, representing revenues of THB600 billion (US$18.45 billion).
The figures are an increase on the 14.5 million foreign visitors and THB500 billion (US$15.37 billion) forecast for 2010. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Suraphon Sevetasreni said they would continue to build on the Kingdom’s well-known attractions such as its cuisine, culture and wellness activities, and also branch “out into new marketing segments such as green and sustainable tourism”.
Golf tourism will also be a pillar of next year’s efforts as well as the emerging niche of “rehabilitation tourism”, TAT officials added. This latest market positioning is an offshoot of Thailand’s already well-known reputation for providing medical services at reasonable prices, along with the holiday experience. Besides resorts that offer holistic wellness, weight loss and detoxification programmes, others have been established with the right environment to “dry out” from excessive use of drugs and alcohol.
Wade Depuis of Channah Thailand in Kanchanaburi said: “People come to Thailand for anonymity. You can avoid the stigma of rehab by saying you simply went on holiday. We get clients from all over the world – a lot from the Middle East, a few from the UK and America and many expats living in Asia.”
Upon arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Channah’s guests are met by a staff member and escorted to the resort where they undergo a clinical assessment before undergoing a programme that suits them. The management of Channah claims to have had a 92 percent completion rate, thanks to a “compassionate and caring approach”.
Breathing Space in Chiangmai is a similar facility.
For more, visit www.tourismthailand.org
Margie T Logarta
Margie T Logarta