The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in partnership with Thai Airways International (THAI), Thai Smile Airways and Krungthai Bank, are coming together to boost domestic travel to 55 secondary destinations.

This impressive alliance will launch new ‘Local Link’ tours with a dedicated e-payment gateway in the last quarter of 2018 to promote Thailand’s emerging destinations.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said: “The ‘Local Link’ initiative represents one of the seven activities under the “Amazing Thailand Go Local” project. It aims to improve the ratio of both domestic and foreign visitors between main cities versus secondary cities. It is currently 70:30 with the new target set at 65:35, with 10 billion Baht in revenue for the grass-roots level in 2018.

“The initiative is also a reminder for Thais and local businesses to take advantage of the government’s tax deduction measures. It encourages them to hold seminars and business events or take leisure travel in second-tier cities for the rest of this year.”

Under the partnership, TAT will design and promote ‘Local Link’ tours. They are categorised in three types: A, B and C. Each category offers recommendations on local points of interest and unseen attractions.

Type A (Additional) promotes travel routes that combine major cities with the secondary ones. These include Chiang Mai and Lamphun, Chiang Mai and Lampang, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Nong Khai, Krabi and Trang, and Songkhla (Hat Yai), Satun and Phatthalung.

Type B (Brand New) highlights local travel experiences in emerging destinations including Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, and Ubon Ratchathani.

Type C (Combination) offers itineraries that links emerging destinations with each other including Udon Thani and Loei, Udon Thani and Bueng Kan, and Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani.

The ‘Local Link’ tours are built around 10 domestic aviation hubs – Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani, Hat Yai, Narathiwat, Krabi and Phuket – served by THAI or Thai Smile, each with convenient access to emerging secondary cities.

THAI is offering 20 tour programmes, from 1 October to 31 December, 2018. The tours can be booked with THAI’s Royal Orchid Holidays, and travellers can choose between a full tour option or just air travel and accommodation.

Thai Smile is offering special tour programmes on four routes, including Narathiwat, Hat Yai – Phatthalung, Surat Thani – Ranong, and Mae Hong Son. All are inclusive of air travel and accommodation. Bookings must be made during October for the travel period between 1 October and 15 December, 2018.

Krungthai Bank is expanding its “Paotung Krungthai” e-payment gateway throughout the 55 secondary destinations in support of the initiative. It also plans to launch a new mobile banking feature for easy payment and benefits the government’s tax deduction measures.

TAT expects domestic travel to 55 secondary destinations to grow by five per cent to 60.33 million trips between January and September this year, generating 165 billion Baht (up nine per cent).

Currently the top five secondary cities are Buri Ram, Phatthalung, Mae Hong Son, Pattani and Ratchaburi.

TAT also expects the growth momentum for domestic travel to continue in this year’s last quarter. It hopes major sports events including the ‘PTT Thailand Grand Prix 2018’ MotoGP in Buri Ram, L’Etape Thailand by Le Tour de France in Phang Nga, Phukethon 2018 in Phuket, and Thailand Spartan Race 2018 in Hua Hin will fuel growth.

source: TAT News