Tourism Authority Of Thailand Clutching At Straws

Yesterday, I posted something ridiculous again about the Tourism Authority of Thailand and one of my Facebook friends commented that they were “clutching at straws”.

The phrase was quo apropos for the situation though I learned it as “grasping at straws” . Regardless, it was appropriate for the bullshit that the Tourism Authority of Thailand was spouting.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Nok Air

See, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is once again making wild claims about the number of “foreign tourist arrivals”, not calling them “foreign tourists” anymore. The current claim by the knuckleheads at the Tourism Authority of Thailand is 30 million arrivals attained magically on 5 December with the lucky 30 millionth being a female from China.

This news comes right on time with the initial forecast of 33+ million that was upped to 34 million. The numbers are pure fiction.

If things were going merrily along, why did the Thai Government suddenly waive all visa fees and cut visa on arrival fees in half? This will accomplish very little.

Keep in mind that this was announced during the last week of November – already 1 1/2 months into high season – a time of year that the Tourism Authority of Thailand shouldn’t have to do anything to lure or woo tourists to the Land of Smiles.

On top of waiving visa fees, which really hurts overseas Thai consulates, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has contracted to have a slew of videos uploaded to YouTube with foreigners giving testimonials about visiting Thailand during the current mourning period to honor the former King. Of course, since the Tourism Authority of Thailand has no idea how social media works, does nothing to promote the videos once uploaded.

What killed the goose that laid the golden egg? A combination of things:

  • The death of HM the King of Thailand on 13 October.
  • Thailand is being ruled by a dictator.
  • Bombings down south and elsewhere.
  • Floods – again.
  • Zero-baht tours.
  • Bus crashes, boat sinkings, jet-ski scams, etc.
  • Shitty infrastructure.
  • No more smiles.

The initial killer as far as numbers go was the crackdown on zero-baht tours. These were originally offered to Chinese tourists – basically – a free flight or almost free – stay at a Chinese-owned hotel, be forced to go on tours and buy souvenirs at shops where everything is marked up. Failure to go would result in physical violence.

Tourism sector accounts for 11-12 percent of the GDP and the number of tourist arrivals for the month of October has dropped to 2.26 million compared to 2.41 million in September representing 10.1 percent drop, said Mr Don, adding that this has weakened the consumption of tourism-related private sector.

Actually, 21% if you believe the Minister of Tourism and Sports wild claims of tourism revenue. And, I guess some of this Chinese tourists did spend some baht at locations other than the Chinese run rip-off locales.

In Thailand a small group running this scam were arrested and assets confiscated. This was supposedly a major bust by the Thai Government and they believed this would keep the riff-raff out of Thailand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand could focus on rich Chinese.

But, this also hit local airlines – like Nok Air. Nok Air planned to expand and add additional flights to China – now – postponed.

Things are so bad that that one online media source claims – Thailand Tourism in Shambles After Tour Crackdown.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is definitely in “damage control” mode – again. And, they haven’t learned a lick. They keep paying to have shitty videos produced that won’t attract foreigners. Other videos geared toward domestic tourism are equally shitty.

Other worn out tactics are still being used by the Tourism Authority of Thailand – mainly – positive press releases that are pure fiction with the hopes that foreigners will read these and believe them. This may have worked in the 50’s but won’t work now with social media and up-to-the-second reporting.

The other solution is throw money at it. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is going to spend 50 million baht in an effort to lure Chinese tourists back.

Why? If there are so many tourists flocking to Thailand, why all the videos and press releases from the Tourism Authority of Thailand?

Yes, clutching or grasping at straws is what the Tourism Authority of Thailand is currently doing.

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Categories:   Khon Kaen Retirement, TAT


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