Thailand government ministers are urging its tourism industry players to stop cheapening its goods and services in order to attract higher value tourists and turn the country into a premium travel destination.
Reuters reported on July 4 at least two ministers making similar comments.
Premium travel destination
It was reported that hotels, businesses and private hospitals have been urged to refrain from offering big discounts to lure tourists and focus instead on raising the country's value as a premium travel destination.
"We cannot let people come to Thailand and say because it's cheap," deputy prime minister Anutin Charnvirakul said at an event at Bangkok's main international airport to promote tourism.
"Instead they should say 'because it works, it's reasonable', that's where we can increase value," he said, reiterating remarks by the country's tourism minister.
Anutin likened the approach to that of luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton.
"Hold your ground. Sell premium. The more expensive, the more customers," he said.
"Otherwise Louis Vuitton wouldn't have any sales."
Thailand tourism recovering
Thailand has received about 2 million foreign visitors in the first six months of 2022.
Its tourism industry almost collapsed due to the pandemic over the last two years.
Thailand saw a record of nearly 40 million visitors in pre-pandemic 2019, who spent 1.91 trillion baht (US$53.53 billion), equivalent to 11 per cent of gross domestic product.
The number of tourists fell to 6.7 million in 2020, and down to just 428,000 in 2021.
It is expecting 10 million foreign arrivals in 2022.
In early 2022, Thailand launched a long-term visa programme for wealthy foreigners and skilled workers.
Top photo of Phi Phi Islands via Unsplash