Thailand will try to ease the pressure on tourism from a surging currency by targeting more first-time visitors because they are bigger spenders.
“First-timers spend 10% to 20% more than repeat tourists and at the same time, we can build a new customer base,” Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said in an interview in Bangkok on Tuesday.
The state agency’s goal is to increase first-time visitors to more than 10 million in 2020, or about a quarter of overall arrivals, from 10% now. It’s focusing marketing efforts on regions such as Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Next year’s targets include a record 41.8 million arrivals generating 2.22 trillion baht ($73 billion) in receipts, both up roughly 5% from 2019.
Tourism, a key Thai economic engine, sputtered this year as the baht’s 7.6% climb against the dollar made the Asian nation a costlier destination. The appreciation slowed recently after the Bank of Thailand stepped up efforts to tackle the surge.