The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is in the process to enter into a partnership with Alibaba, and its online travel subsidiary Figgly.com, to develop an online platform promoting Thai small tourism operators and emerging destinations to Chinese travellers.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said that Alibaba will team up with TAT to partner tourism marketing activities through its online platforms and connect with Alibaba’s other marketing channels to develop big data for the Thai tourism industry.
“TAT’s partnering with Alibaba, China’s leading online ecommerce company, will help increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized tourism companies in terms of the new development of products and services that will increase the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Thailand.
“We hope it will also help both new arrivals and return visitors from China discover emerging secondary destinations, so it is a ‘win-win’ situation for both parties,” he added.
While complete details are still being finalised, the portal is expected to cover the complete digital experience for Thailand’s tourism. This starts with the visa process through to the complete tourism tax refund service that could be offered to Chinese travellers through Alibaba’s online payment gateway, Alipay.
The move is expected to help increase both the number of annual Chinese arrivals and tourism revenue generated from their visits, especially among repeat travellers. In 2017, Thailand received 9,805,753 Chinese arrivals, an increase of almost 12 per cent over the previous year. They generated tourism revenue of more than 52 billion Baht (US$ 1.6 billion) during the year, up 15.8 percent over 2016.
The Chinese Internet retail giant Alibaba is reportedly proposing total investments worth about 11 billion Baht (US$ 350 million) in Thailand in agriculture, ecommerce, human resources development and tourism.
Displayed image: Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman Jack Ma, who visited Thailand last week (photo from the National News Bureau of Thailand).