The Golden Age of Thailand, spanning from the 13th to the 18th centuries, stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage that defined the era. Also known as the ‘Ayutthaya period’, it marked a pinnacle in Thai history when the powerful kingdom left an indelible mark on Southeast Asia and beyond. The former Thai
The Golden Age of Thailand, spanning from the 13th to the 18th centuries, stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage that defined the era. Also known as the ‘Ayutthaya period’, it marked a pinnacle in Thai history when the powerful kingdom left an indelible mark on Southeast Asia and beyond.
The former Thai capital of Ayutthaya is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands as a testament to the glory of the country’s former greatness. Its ruins transport visitors back to a time when Ayutthaya was a thriving trade hub and vibrant cultural capital.
Thai television period drama Love Destiny (sequel series 2023) has leveraged this bygone era and became known across Asia for its historically accurate screenplay, costumes, and locations. It serves as an interesting case study of how the entertainment industry continues to have a lasting impact on travel behavior.
And this historical legacy also translates into good business, as the heritage tourism market was estimated at US$ 617 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach US$ 1,316.4 Billion by 2033, at a positive CAGR of 7.2% from 2023 to 2033. Countries with notable cultural assets are also rolling out special promotions to showcase heritage attractions and woo more visitors.
Chaiwatthanaram Temple, a key location in Ayutthaya for Love Destiny, has piggybacked the popularity of Love Destiny into a hefty increase in daily visitors. Before the show’s launch in 2018, the temple attracted an estimated 600 to 900 tourists daily on weekdays and 2,000 on weekends. Following the series’ broadcast, these numbers escalated to 5,000-6,000 visitors per day on weekdays and over 25,000 people on weekends.
So many people have been visiting the temple that its visiting hours were extended into the evening, with more Thais and overseas visitors dressing up in costumes from the Ayutthaya era.
The upward trend is anticipated to continue throughout 2024 with projected revenue in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province to increase by an estimated 20%. Traveloka experienced a surge in searches coinciding with the premiere of Love Destiny (sequel series 2023) in October 2023. There were three Ayutthaya tour options that gained increased traction during this period namely Ayutthaya UNESCO World Heritage Day Tour and Chao Phraya Cruise, Bangkok Ayutthaya Day & Night Tour, and Ayutthaya Night Market Tour. The company also observed a noteworthy transaction growth for accommodation in Ayutthaya during the last quarter of 2023, with October growing almost 30% MoM versus September with the highest number of transactions in December.
Traveloka is tapping a raising demand from customers who want to experience heritage tourism in Thailand. It captures the imagination of the travelling public who are drawn to cultural and historical aspects of Thai society because they simply cannot be found anywhere else.
Movies and television that show historical culture continue to influence travel decisions and leave a lasting impact on destinations around the world. More than 80 million travelers worldwide have selected destinations inspired by the movies they have seen. It is estimated that the number of tourists following a ‘film footprint’ will double in the five years after a movie’s release, and this creates lasting economic value for the countries where movies are filmed.
The Thai government has actively encouraged an increase in foreign film production to promote Thai tourism, creating employment opportunities and generating local income. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for global promotion, while the Ministry of Culture aims to generate significant economic value from cultural endeavors. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is also committed to cultural tourism experiences under the concept of ‘Amazing 5F’ that highlights the soft power of Thai culture through Food, Film, Fashion, Fight (Muay Thai) and Festivals.
Thailand will maintain its prominence in various cultural and historical aspects, as can be seen on media exposure from Love Destiny. The exposure also helps Traveloka continue to support the TAT’s ‘Unveil Thailand’s Treasures’ campaign promoting secondary cities and domestic tourism around the country.