Authors: Siwasak Pansukkum and Dr. Jason R. Swanso
Abstract: If the economy of Thailand is to thrive, historical attraction sites must sustain the interest of tourists and maintain a high ranking in the tourism industry as destination sites. In order to achieve and maintain a high ranking in the tourism industry, the historical attraction sites of Thailand must preserve the strong attributes that draw visitors while simultaneously developing the attributes that are considered weaknesses. Since more tourists between the ages of 15 and 25, or youth tourists, are traveling more than ever before, the tourism industry of Thailand should target this demographic when developing their marketing strategies and plans. The purpose of this study is to provide an understanding of Thai young tourists’ behavior, identify their profile, and determine their motives for visiting cultural heritage destinations. Furthermore, this study also examines the historical attraction site’s attributes that are considered important and how these sites meet the needs of youth tourists. For this study, the Ayutthaya Historical Park, the World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in 1991, situated in Ayutthaya province in Thailand is selected as a data collection site. Findings show that the beauty of historical buildings and landscape, the preservation of cultural heritage attraction sites’ authenticity, the maintenance of the historical buildings’ exterior, and the maintenance of the historical buildings’ interior are considered the importance attributes. While the attributes considered being weaknesses of the attractions sites are the number of restrooms available at the attraction sites, the amount of parking spaces provided at the attraction sites, the amount of restaurants and dining areas, and the quality of souvenirs offered at the attraction sites.
Keywords: Ayutthaya Historical Park; Cultural heritage; Thai youth; Youth attitudes; Youth tourists