TAT vows to push Thailand as a wedding hub

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TAT vows to push Thailand as a wedding hub

Representatives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) attended the Destination Wedding Planners Congress, held in April in Athens, Greece, and announced plans to promote Thailand as a major wedding hub, especially aiming at Indian and European couples.

According to a spokesperson for TAT, the organization charged with promoting tourism into Thailand, the wedding destination market is worth around US$86 billion (about 27,520,000,000 baht), and Thailand has only been picking up a relatively small percentage of that amount.

Figures released by TAT suggest honeymoon and wedding tourists accounted for seven percent, or 1.04 million, of arrivals. The estimated revenue from this sector amounted to 34.6 billion baht in 2013.

Of the numbers who came here, some 29 percent were from East Asia (South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China), 28 percent from Europe (Russia, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain), 15 percent from Malaysia and Singapore, 12 percent from South Asia (India, Sri Lanka), and five percent from the Americas (US, Canada, Brazil and the like).

When drilling down further into these figures, TAT says almost 71 percent of the wedding-related tourists were on their honeymoon and13.5 percent were celebrating a wedding anniversary. Just 9.34 percent had their wedding inside Thailand and just over seven percent were on a fact-finding tour of the country with a view to possibly holding their special day in Thailand. Income from those holding their wedding in Thailand totaled more than 10 billion baht.

The numbers show there is plenty of scope for expansion in the wedding market. TAT aims to increase the wedding market share by at least 10 percent, aiming specifically at the Indian sector as well as Europeans, with the latter usually likely to draw 50 to 100 or more guests, most of whom have high purchasing power. TAT claims Indian weddings are usually grandiose affairs with 200 or more guests and spending upwards of 10 million baht.

Bali, in Indonesia, has long been a favoured wedding destination and TAT sees no reason why Thailand couldn’t match it with her southern neighbour. Key destinations would likely be Koh Samui, Phuket, and Chiang Mai, at least in the initial stages.

As the TAT notes, Thailand offers good service facilities, value for money, and a variety of formal and informal wedding styles.

Currently, the biggest obstacle to be overcome across much of Thailand is the relative inexperience within the marketplace in handling large-scale weddings for foreigners. There is very little knowledge regarding the logistical requirements needed and expected to bring off a successful and memorable wedding experience in Thailand. So, there is a gap in the marketplace for experienced entrepreneurs who could potentially take the Thailand wedding market to that next level.