Perspectives of the private sector on the tourism and hospitality sector: Create “Team Thailand” to spearhead the country’s rebranding towards the same goal


“For the Thai tourism and hospitality sector to continue to reign supreme and maintain the top-of-mind position, it is necessary for the government, the private sector, and the general public in each locality to share the same goal and move in the same direction (One Goal, One Direction). That is why it is vital for us to have ‘Team Thailand’ to spearhead the rebranding of Thailand and further differentiate our country, to create new stories and experiences, and to communicate to the entire world. Every stakeholder needs to join hands to develop a strategy that will enable us to maintain our top-of-mind position.” Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Group, stated on the stage in a panel discussion on “the Perspectives of the Business Sector Towards Policies for the Advancement of Thailand” regarding the promotion of the tourism and hospitality sector, organized by the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Trade of Thailand, and the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

Undeniably, the tourism industry serves a magnet that draws international visitors to Thailand and generates far-reaching impacts, benefitting not only those directly involved in the tourism business but also retail and real estate industries. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand welcomed over 40 million tourists annually. Given that as many as 11.5 million tourists returned to Thailand in 2022, the target number of visitors for 2023 has been adjusted from the previous 25 million to 30 million. As such, a robust proactive strategy and direction to boost the Thai tourism industry is vital as it plays a significant role in driving the country forward.

Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Group, analyzed factors contributing to why Thailand had consistently been voted as one of the top favorite destinations by people worldwide year after year. She explained that all talks of Thailand’s soft power could be boiled down to its five superpowers.

1. We are leaders and not followers because Thailand has established a solid foundation and various networks for the tourism industry for over 50 years.

2. Thai culture is a timeless marketable narrative that has a universal appeal and will always stand the test of time.

3. As it is located in the heart of Southeast Asia and surrounded by neighboring countries with burgeoning tourism businesses, Thailand can expand its industry and connect with them in order to draw tourists to the country.

4. Private organizations in the tourism sector boast unparalleled strength thanks to their extensive network, active collaboration with all sectors, and full cooperation with the government, as evidenced in the fact that tourism accounts for 20% of the GPD, generates 1.93 trillion baht for the country, and is responsible for millions of jobs.

5. Thailand’s best asset is its people, who have impressed the world with their warmth and earned Thailand the reputation as the Land of Smiles. Thanks to its people, Thailand enjoys unique soft power in different dimensions and is known around the world.

However, given the seismic shift in the post-COVID world, Thailand needs to make rebranding its core mission that guides its efforts to promote the tourism and hospitality sector. “How do we want the entire world to view Thailand today? It is time to reflect and see what policies and strategies we need in order to maintain our leadership. It is vital that we communicate Thailand’s brand in the same direction and towards the same goal across all media, in a way that does not only concentrate on Thainess but also centers around the Thai identity and Thailand’s position as a bona fide world-class destination. Also, it is essential for us to identify tourism trends and develop tangible strategies based on them,” Chadatip said.

The first step that Thailand needs to take is to form “Team Thailand” – a taskforce consisting of representatives from the government, private businesses, and the general public – in order to implement strategies and develop targets and action plans in the same direction as well as allocate and manage tourism budgets to maximize value. Guided by an agile work culture, the team will exchange information, communicate, and work together to quickly solve problems and adjust strategies in order to continue Thailand’s reign in the tourism industry.

To ensure Thailand’s continued leadership in the tourism industry, Chadatip highlighted the importance of setting goals that explore new dimensions of tourism, focusing on becoming Asia’s hub of art in the short term. Given Thailand's potential for a creative economy and the creativity of its artists, we can draw international art fairs to Thailand and elevate the caliber of Thai artists to the world-class level as well as create world-class museums to showcase artworks from around the globe as all of these can be brought to life the fastest and with minimum budgets. For the medium term, Thailand should aim to become a hub of world-class events, as each event has the potential to attract over 100,000 quality tourists. The more world-class events are hosted in Thailand, the more money can be drawn into the country.

More importantly, Thailand needs to set a goal of becoming a hub of headquarters. To accomplish this, Thailand will need to establish national strategies and goals to create integrated services that facilitate and remove barriers to international investments. This goal will instantly prompt the creation of sustainable tourism through various streams of revenue from different dimensions.

It is necessary for us to place emphasis on promoting high-quality tourism in order to generate added value by telling new stories about eco-tourism and equality, fostering extensive networks, and bringing to life “Team Thailand.” It is also crucial to transition to smart tourism and tell stories through digital technology as well as adjust the necessary infrastructures, such as airports and the national airline, in order to accommodate a larger influx of visitors as well as manage foreign workforce in the tourism industry in a systematic and adequate manner.

“To maintain its position as the top-of-mind destination for visitors worldwide, it is crucial for Thailand to strengthen its tourism industry in a sustainable way, which will forever solidify our position as the number one leader. Win the World for Thailand,” Chadatip stated, concluding her speech with a powerful remark.