Thailand eyes new horizons in Latin America for LGBT tourists

Proudly contributed by Suchat Sritama

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Pride parade returned to Chiang Mai this year.

Thailand is starting to court LGBT tourists from Latin America, seeing huge opportunities particularly from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Columbia.

Jefferson Santos, representative to South America for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said Brazil alone has a 25 million-strong LGBT community, making it the top priority market for Thailand.

“We will start developing the LGBT market from Latin America markets,” Santos said, although TAT has yet to open a new office in South America as originally planned.

To cash in on this segment, TAT will join the LGBT Forum, scheduled to take place in Sao Paolo in June this year, as well as the LGBT Symposium in Bangkok this September.

In 2018, over 200,000 tourists from Latin America markets travelled to Thailand, mostly to Bangkok, Phuket, Phi Phi Island and other beach resorts in the south.

Jorge Rocha, the representative of Mexico-based International Travel Group (ITG), one of the operators joining a fam trip to Thailand last week, said many tourists including those in the LGBT segment are interested in holidaying in Thailand. Despite the long distance, travel to Thailand costs about the same as to the Caribbean.

Not only does Thailand welcome LGBT travellers, but the country also offers a unique culture that people in South America are looking for, said, Rocha.

Marcia Tenroller of Trip and Travel Tour in Brazil said Thailand could become a new destination for tourists from long-haul markets.

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