Thailand to highlight connectivity and sustainability at ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019

Bangkok, 17 January, 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to use the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2019 set for 14-18 January in Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, to highlight the twin themes of enhancing ASEAN connectivity and sustainability.

Thailand to highlight connectivity and sustainability at ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019

H.E. Weerasak Kowsurat, Minister of Tourism and Sports (4th from left), in a group photo with other ASEAN Tourism Ministers during the opening of the ATF 2019

The ATF is ASEAN’s premier travel marketplace and includes a major trade show (Travel Exchange, TRAVEX) plus meetings of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers and Heads of NTOs, as well as their Dialogue Partners: India, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. This year, the week-long event is set to welcome some 1,500 international delegates with the theme of “ASEAN: THE POWER OF ONE”.

This year is especially important for Thailand, which is chairing the 10-member regional grouping under the theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.” More than 180 meetings across the entire ASEAN system are to be held in Thailand this year, which will see significant participation by both the public and private sectors and media representatives.

At the ATF 2019 in Ha Long bay, the Thai contingent of exhibitors will include 20 hotels and resorts and various other tourism-related businesses at the Thailand Pavilion between 16-18 January.

The full list of Thai exhibitors is: Dragonfly Tour, Hotel Myth Phuket, Mgallery & Novotel Phuket Vintage Park, Mahanakhon SkyWalk, Manathai Hotels & Resorts, Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11, Mode Sathorn Hotel, Mom Tri’s Villa Royale, Orchidacea Resort, Kata Beach Phuket, Pavilion Samui Villas & Resort, Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa (Phunumkiat Co., Ltd.), Rasa Hospitality, ROBINSON Club Khao Lak, SALA Hospitality Group Co., Ltd., Sea Sun Sand Resort & Spa, Sri Panwa Phuket, Sukosol Hotels, The Old Phuket – Karon Beach Resort, The Vijitt Resort Phuket, Twinpalms Hotels & Resorts, and Veranda Resort.

The official ASEAN tourism meetings will mainly be held at the FLC Ha Long Bay Resort while the three-day TRAVEX travel trade exhibition from 16 to 18 January, 2019, will take place at the Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Centre (QNEPEC), a 21,000 sq m. state-of-the-art venue modelled after a local pearl-making mollusc.

Thailand to highlight connectivity and sustainability at ASEAN Tourism Forum 2019Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and the South Pacific (above photo), stated in the media briefing on 17 January, “Throughout this year, Thailand has an important role as the ASEAN Chairman. Under the theme of ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’, Thailand will seek to develop an ASEAN community, which is people-centred, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future.

“Thailand is now working intensively to promote its emerging tourism destinations in a way that better balances both seasonality and distribution. The goal is to achieve a more even distribution of visitors between urban and rural areas, as well in the months of travel. We also want to encourage more travel during weekdays to reduce pressure on the weekends.”

Mr. Chattan said that as TAT is well-aware of the over-tourism challenge, it has carefully selected these destinations with due consideration both in terms of tourism demand as well as accessibility, adequate availability of accommodation, readiness of the local communities, and marketable opportunities; all of which are vital for promotion in the international markets.

According to the preliminary figures, in 2018, Thailand welcomed around 38 million international visitors, up by 6.8 percent and generated 2 trillion Baht, up by 9.7 percent to the country.

The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is an annual tourism event first held in 1981 in Malaysia. Thailand has hosted the ATF six times — 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2008 and 2018.

Thailand boosts participation in SATTE 2019, New Delhi

New Delhi, 16 January 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) together with 70 Thai exhibitors participated in the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE 2019) during 16-19 January, 2019, at the India Expo Mart, Delhi. It is the largest contingent of Thai exhibitors at SATTE, a significant increase over the total of 54 in SATTE 2018.

This year marks the 11th year of Thailand’s presence at SATTE. The 70 exhibitors include 28 hotels and resorts, 21 tour operators and travel agents, five airlines and 16 tourist attractions, and related agencies.

Thailand boosts participation in SATTE 2019 New Delhi

In Photo (from left to right): Mrs. Kulpramote Wannalert, Director of TAT’s ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Market Division; Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications; Mr. Pornpoth Penpas, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior and Member of the TAT Board of Directors; Mr. Boonyarit Kalayanamit, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Acting Chairman of the TAT Board of Directors; Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor; Mr. Klissada Ratanapruk, Executive Director of TAT’s ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Market Division; and Mr. Isara Sathapanaset, Director of TAT New Delhi Office, joined Thailand’s participation at SATTE 2019.

According to TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, “We are very pleased with the strong turnout at SATTE this year. Indian buyers will find an extensive range of products and facilities catering to many different market segments. We also look forward to learning from our Indian friends and partners on how we can expand our presence and brand image in emerging Indian cities and markets.”

On 15 January, Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications also delivered a speech at the Amazing Thailand Product Briefing Networking Lunch. He provided an update of Thailand’s tourism situation, strategies, and new products and services.

Thailand boosts participation in SATTE 2019 New Delhi

Thailand Media Briefing by Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications

India is now one of the top 10 sources of visitor arrivals for Thailand, a member of a small club of countries that generate more than one million visitors a year. In January – November 2018, arrivals from India were up by 12.03% to 1.42 million, generating an estimated 63 billion Baht in tourism income.

The growing sophistication and maturity of the Indian traveller has given enormous opportunity to promote Thailand’s diverse range of niche-market products to women travellers, high-net worth individuals, weddings and honeymoons, and family groups.

Today, a new strata of experienced, well-heeled and Internet-savvy Indian travellers are venturing beyond the long-standing Bangkok-Pattaya circuit to new destinations; such as, Chiang Rai, Rayong, Trat, Hua Hin and Samut Songkhram.

Bilateral airline capacity is at an all-time high with 307 weekly flights between Thailand and 16 major cities in India by 13 airlines: Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Air India, Thai Smile, Bhutan Airlines, Druk Air, Jet Airways, Air Asia, Spice Jet, Thai Lion Air, Indigo, Nok Scoot and GoAir.

In August this year, TAT will undertake an Amazing Thailand Roadshow to secondary Indian cities; such as, Ahmedabad, Pune, Amritsar and Bhubaneswar. The roadshow to the four cities, all of which have been given international gateway status by the Indian government, is part of TAT’s strategy to tap the rich potential of India’s populous secondary cities. Thailand expect to welcome 5 million Indian visitors within the years 2023.

Currently, TAT has two offices in India (New Delhi and Mumbai) and is also expanding marketing representation and services in secondary cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Pune, etc.

*Thailand Pavilion at SATTE 2019

Thailand boosts participation in SATTE 2019 New Delhi Thailand boosts participation in SATTE 2019 New Delhi

TAT issues travel advisory on Bangkok’s air pollution

Bangkok, 15 January, 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is advising tourists to monitor Bangkok’s air pollution and take precautions when necessary as unhealthy conditions continue after the air quality index (US AQI) peaked at 183 in parts of the Thai capital.

TAT understands that the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation will attempt to create artificial rain over the city as early as Tuesday, 15 January to curb the city’s air pollution that threatens the health of tourists and residents alike. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) quoted the Pollution Control Department as saying that the timing would depend on humidity and wind direction.

In the meantime, TAT advises that tourists should take any necessary precautions to ensure they protect themselves.

TAT will continue to assess the overall situation and issue timely updates as appropriate, while assuring all that the relevant Thai authorities are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the smog on visitors from abroad as well as residents.

Key Facts

Bangkok’s pollution remained at harmful levels (over 150 US AQI) for the fourth straight day on Monday 14 January and was likely to remain for up to another month due to weather patterns, experts predicted.  People wearing masks became a common sight in inner areas of the capital as visitors were greeted by thick smog forcing them to consider face masks to protect against dirty air.

*Featured image: Bangkok (file photo)

Thailand extends visa-on-arrival fee waiver until 30 April 2019

Bangkok, 15 January, 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to announce that the Royal Thai Government has approved the extension of the visa-on-arrival fee waiver for citizens of 20 countries until 30 April.

The decision was announced in the Royal Thai Government Gazette on 11 January, reasoning it as a measure to stimulate and promote tourism as well as to enhance the kingdom’s attractiveness among foreign visitors during the high travel season.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said the continuation of the stimulus visa-on-arrival measure came at a perfect time as Thailand is set to celebrate Chinese New Year in February and the Thai New Year (Songkran) in April.

Chinese New Year celebrations are huge in Thailand, and this year will mark the 15th anniversary of cooperation between TAT, the Chinese Ministry of Culture, and the Chinese Embassy in organising annual Lunar New Year festivities in Thailand. This year’s date falls on 5 February.

Mr. Yuthasak said: “This year, the Chinese New Year official opening ceremony will be held at Siam Square, one of the most popular shopping areas in Bangkok. We aim to attract more of the younger generation to enjoy the traditional performances.”

Every year, China sends over 100 traditional Chinese dancers and musicians, martial artists, Chinese opera performers and acrobats from several cities in a cultural exchange. In addition to the opening ceremony, typically held at Bangkok’s Yaowarat (China Town), performances are also held in key cities around Thailand where Chinese New Year is celebrated in grand style. In return, TAT organises education tours of Thailand for the performers.

For the Thai New Year (Songkran), TAT will continue its strategy to promote Thai traditions and cultural values, the core part of almost all traditional events and festivals in Thailand, according to Mr. Yuthasak. “As usual, TAT will provide support to the organising of Songkran celebrations in various destinations throughout the kingdom.”

The Songkran Festival, 13-15 April, is an event where boisterous fun and ancient traditions go hand-in-hand. For tourists, the event offers a chance to enjoy a huge celebration where water parties break out in the streets of Thailand’s towns and villages. For locals, it is a time when they can spend precious moments with their families and visit the temples to observe ancient rites and make merit.

Other notable events and festivals scheduled during the period include the World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony on 17 March in Ayutthaya and the uniquely local Poi Sang Long Festival (held during March or April) in the northern province of Mae Hong Son.

The list of countries eligible for the visa-on-arrival fee waiver until 30 April:

Citizens of Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China including Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the 2,000 Baht visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand for not more than 15 days.

Bangkok ranked in Top Ten list of global cities for dining and shopping in MasterCard Index 2018

Bangkok, 14 January, 2019 – MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index has published a survey on the dining and shopping (GDCI: Indulgences) spending patterns of tourists in various cities around the world. Bangkok was ranked third on the list of the Top Global Cities for Dining and sixth on the list of Top Global Cities for Shopping.

The GDCI: Indulgences survey is a part of the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI). It ranks cities that tourists visited in the past one year. In 2018, the result indicated that Bangkok was the #1 Global Destination for the third consecutive year with Phuket and Pattaya ranked 12th and 18th, respectively. This has resulted in Thailand being the only country to have 3 cities in the Top 20 list.

In addition to the spending figures, the GDCI: Indulgences also indicate the economic implications that arise from such spending.

TOP CITIES FOR DINING (FOOD & BEVERAGES)

Bangkok, the city that is famous for food and culture, is ranked #3 of the Top Cities for Dining. Visitor spending was 108 billion Baht (USD 3.38 billion) or 20.6% of the total expenditure. Palma de Mallorca, Spain ranked #2 with a total of 121 billion Baht (USD 3.78 billion), ranked after the top-ranked Dubai with a spending of approximately 190 billion Baht (USD 5.94 billion).

Bangkok ranked in Top Ten list of global cities for dining and shopping in MasterCard Index 2018

Street Food on Yaowarat Road (Chinatown), Bangkok

TOP CITIES FOR SHOPPING

GDCI: Indulgences revealed Bangkok is also a popular city for shopping, ranked 6th worldwide, with tourists spending about 120 billion Baht (USD 3.75 billion), representing 23% of the overall expenditure.

There are eight cities on the top list for dining and seven cities on the top list for shopping that are also a part of the Mastercard Priceless Cities experiential travel platform where travellers from over 90 countries can access unique and unforgettable experiences in over 40 cities around the world.

Bangkok ranked in Top Ten list of global cities for dining and shopping in MasterCard Index 2018

Shopping at The Emquartier, Bangkok

“Dining and Shopping are the key expenditure items that connect visitors to local culture, traditions and history. MasterCard has created an amazing city experience for tourists through the Priceless Cities programme, including Bangkok. Whether it is a vacation in a boutique hotel or tasting famous food in Thailand, MasterCard believes that opening up new experiences will create impressive memories for tourists from all over the world,” said Mr. Donald Ong, Director of MasterCard Thailand and Myanmar.

Mastercard is focused on helping cardholders travel the world with peace of mind through seamless planning, convenience and connectivity at the destination, and worry-free acceptance at millions of locations around the globe. Compelling travel offerings and benefits help travellers every step of their journey. More information can be found at mastercard.com.

About the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index

The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2017, and gives international overnight visitor growth forecasts for 2018. Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 162 destination cities.

Forecasts are based upon the weighted average of the national level tourism forecasts and the actual 2018 monthly data at the destination level, which is available to the latest month before release.

This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.

Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes environmentally-friendly travel

Bangkok, 10 January 2019 – Excitement is building for this year’s Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 (TTF 2019), which aims to inspire Thais, expatriates and visiting tourists alike to travel around Thailand in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.

The event takes place from 23 to 27 January in Bangkok’s Lumphini Park with five ‘tourism villages’ representing the regions of Thailand plus two additional zones.

Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes environmentally-friendly travel

Highlights of the Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 were unveiled at today’s press conference, presided over by TAT Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn (center, yellow jacket)

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn said each zone of the ‘tourism village’ comes with its own theme or stage for activities and performances.

“Under the theme of environmentally-minded tourism, the Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes green travel with the objective of presenting inspirational and attractive tourism products and services to stimulate more travel bookings to both major and emerging destinations.

“It also encourages visitors and Thai nationals to boldly step out and travel beyond traditional destinations and experience Thailand from a new perspective and point of view.”

The different zones on offer at the TTF 2019 include:

Central Region Zone – presents the heritage of old Siam through a traditional Thai house and the former rural way of life back in the days through demonstrations; such as, traditional garland making.

Northern Zone – showcases the beautiful handwoven cotton and silk textiles the region is famous for, presenting the intricate patterns. The zone reflects the artistic nature of the people of the North plus a range of contemporary arts inspired by the region.

Southern Zone – presenting new perspectives of the South that boldly goes beyond the beaches and islands including the secondary cities; such as, Surat Thani and Phatthalung, the hidden gems in major cities like Phuket’s Peranakan and arts in the three southernmost provinces.

Northeastern (Isan) Zone – brings Thailand’s more vibrant cuisine to life. Food is one major inspiration for travelling to this region, linking it with traditional festivals and cultural values while promoting its three main tourism clusters: North Isan, Central Isan and South Isan.

Eastern Zone – presenting new perspectives of the East under a ‘more fun’ concept through replicas of landmarks most synonymous with the region in combination with three dedicated corners for 3D photography backdrops reflecting the region’s identity.

Perhaps most importantly, there is also a ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’ waste initiative zone to help raise awareness and promote responsible sustainable tourism through various activities, games and more.

TAT Studio – provides daily live broadcasts of the TTF 2019 in all formats: news reports, special scoops, interviews plus activities and performances. It comprises a live digital TV studio, a 1672 traveller companion information centre, an ‘Or Sor Tho’ magazine section, and virtual reality games and lucky draws.

For more information, call the TAT Contact Centre on 1672.

*Today’s press conference also showcased some of the products and services to be on offer at the Thailand Tourism Festival 2019.

Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes environmentally-friendly travel

A ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’ waste initiative zone

Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes environmentally-friendly travel

Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes environmentally-friendly travel

Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes environmentally-friendly travel Thailand Tourism Festival 2019 promotes environmentally-friendly travel

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