During each tourism low season, Thailand seasonally receives fewer tourists from certain countries, but visitors from the Middle East, among others, have not declined. Since travelers from this region are high-spenders and tend to be repeat visitors, KResearch deems that we should optimize our marketing tactics for the region, which could help boost our tourism revenues from Middle Eastern visitors even as the end of the low season approaches.
Over the remainder of 2016, we expect that more arrivals will be from this oil-exporting region, with obvious growth momentum in line with improving oil prices. Arrivals from the Middle East are predicted to total 695,000 in 2016, rising 5.5 percent YoY. Marketing opportunities are thus ample in these markets where economic recoveries are witnessed, including in Iran and current key markets like the UAE.
KResearch also believes that although Thailand is relatively superior when it comes to our tourism products while our location serves as a transport hub, religious and cultural differences between our country and the Middle Eastern nations could hamper our marketing efforts to lure more Muslim tourists here. With that in mind, businesses will likely be more competent when they include services that would facilitate Middle East travelers. Hotels, for example, might offer faith-based products and services such as Halal food, Muslim prayer rooms and specific washrooms. Another marketing tool would be pricing, e.g., specially-priced packages for guests who come as families.
From a broader point of view, all involved parties should join forces to help upgrade Thailand's Halal standards, which would enhance Muslim visitors' confidence in our services, to show that we are a Halal-friendly destination for Muslims from all over the world.
That said, risks still prevail. Businesses targeting Middle Eastern customers should consider risk diversification to refrain from too much reliance on a single market. It would also help to keep watch on issues that may lead to market turmoil, e.g., economic performance in specific target markets. To be exact, it is important that we keep track of global crude oil prices and geopolitical risks to remain profitable from Middle East markets.
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