Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand, delivered the following speech at the Opening Reception of TAT Toronto Office on Monday, 23 April, 2018, 18.30-21.30 Hrs.
Good evening and sawasdee khrap,
Your Excellency, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand in Canada, Chairman of the TAT Board of Directors, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand,
Distinguished guests, members of the media, friends from the tourism industry, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to be with all of you here. Thank you for being with us tonight.
It is the approximate distance between Canada and Thailand. Very far, indeed, but distance is not a matter. Despite the distance, we have seen a great number of Canadian visitors travelling to our country, and this keeps growing. This is the reason why we are all here tonight to thank you all for supporting us and shortening that distance, especially when we have now opened our office here.
Thailand Tourism Situation in 2017-2018
In 2017, Thailand welcomed 35 million visitors generating a total income of 69.6 billion Canadian Dollars, which represented a growth of eight percent in revenue. It is a tribute to the diversity of our tourism offerings and Thai local experiences.
During 2018, TAT will continue to promote sustainable development with the community as the best practice. We believe this will pave the way for Thailand to be a preferred destination and “Quality Leisure Destination” to international visitors.
At the end of this year, we aim to see the total revenue rise by eight percent over last year.
Canada Market Situation
Although Thailand is a long-haul destination for Canadians, we have seen a positive sign from this market. From 2013-2017, the amount of revenue has expanded by six percent on average in five years.
In 2017, over 258,000 Canadian travellers contributed to the income of 845.9 million Canadian Dollars, representing a growth of 7.61 percent. This year, we project the revenue to grow by 8.46 percent over last year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Do you know how long Canadians averagely spend on their trip in Thailand? The answer is 18 days according to the figure in 2016. This number doubles the average of all nationalities. One of the countries that have the longest stay in Thailand.
Our strategy for the Canadian market is to source first-time visitors as well as the major segments including Baby boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y. Their main interests are seeking for unique experiences about culture, beach, and Thai food.
With a new communication concept “Open to the New Shades” under the brand ‘Amazing Thailand,’ we are certain that it will respond to the need of these markets who like to expand their experiences and share those moments with others.
So…, what is “Open to the New Shades”?
Ladies and gentlemen,
The new “Open to the New Shades” will appeal to all travellers, offering opportunities for each traveller regardless of their interest or age, to expand their experiences in Thailand for an unforgettable journey.
The key word is ‘OPEN.’ It expresses that Thailand is now ‘OPEN’ or welcomes every visitor to our country while we are asking the travellers themselves to ‘OPEN’ their minds and hearts to their journey in Thailand. Another word is ‘Shades’, which refer to the diversity or millions of experiences that awaits for them to discover.
I have to say that the strength of Thailand is diversity, so “Open to the New Shades” reflects this strength and uncovers a new perception of attractions in Thailand. The communication concept will introduce brand-new products to visitors or reveal a new charming character of well-known destinations through creativity. It is aimed at attracting more repeat visitors to seek the ‘shade’ unexplored and also first-time visitors. Also, we still maintain the significance on the Thai people because those memorable experiences cannot be created without their ‘hospitality’.
Moreover, ‘Open to the New Shades’ is an idea that is open to travellers’ imagination. They can ‘mix and match’ the diverse choices of our products to personalise their trip. In other words, travellers can create their own shades like no others.
We would like to introduce the potential products under these five main ‘New Shades’ categories that will be fine-tuned with the Canada market as follows:
‘Eating Thai food’ is the number one hit for Canadians. And I can guarantee that Thailand will never ever disappoint you about ‘food experiences’ from joining a food tour to a cooking class. I would also say that a food tour in Bangkok and Chiang Mai is a must for keen foodies. Recently, we have just launched our first Michelin Guide Book Bangkok. It will be a useful navigator for ‘best eats’ in our capital.
Nature and Beach:
A beach holiday is also best-loved by Canadian travellers. Phuket, Krabi, and Ko Samui have become well-known destinations. So, we would like to recommend the nearby choices that are less-crowded and take only a few hours from the major destinations. For example, combine your visit to Khao Lak and Ko Yao Noi from Phuket or Ko Lanta with Krabi.
A variety of activities are offered for soft adventurers; such as, diving and rock-climbing. Besides, our beach destinations here can make a honeymoon memorable due to the wide array of boutique villas and natural wonders.
A journey to a new culture elsewhere could not ever be fun like here since Thailand has so much diverse culture in different parts of the country. In the North, travellers can explore traces of the Lanna culture in the old city of Chiang Mai: temples, way of life and food. Going down South, a walking tour in the Phuket Old Town to sightsee the Sino- Portuguese architecture along the streets is worth taking.
Art and Craft:
Muay Thai is another form of Thai art that is thrilling and unique. More than just a martial art, it is a legacy that has been passed down over hundreds of years. Travellers can take training sessions that are offered by many hotels and gyms countrywide. But if you prefer to do artwork, come and learn how to do umbrella-painting and paper-making in Chiang Mai. If you only wish to see exquisite art, Wat Rong Khun also known as the White Temple will never fail you.
Way of Life:
Even in the capital, you can easily get to see the simple way of life along the river through a canal tour in Klong Bangkok Noi and Klong Bangkok Yai. Also, waking up one early morning and giving alms to the monks is an easy way to engage in the way of Thai life.
For the upcoming event in 2018, I am delighted to tell you that Thailand with a support from Tourism Authority of Thailand will host the concert performed by the globally renowned Canadian singer, ‘Celine Dion Live 2018 in Bangkok’ on 23 July, 2018. And this is very special because it is the first time for her to perform in Thailand. We are very welcome to provide you a complimentary ticket if you wish to attend the concert in Bangkok. Please feel free to contact the TAT Toronto Office.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In a way to communicate the ‘Open to the New Shades’ to the world, we chose to use the song as a gimmick to describe the uniqueness and diversity of Thailand to my dear travellers. “Music” is a “universal language”, which is able to cross cultural barriers and connect people regardless of nationality, gender or age in an amazing way. So, we would like to ask you let your imagination flow with the melody that tells the diverse rhythms of Thailand, presented by Khun Koh Mr. Saxman and his band ‘The Sound of Siam.’ Tonight is very special because it is the first time for the full band’s performance overseas.
The first song is ‘Bangkok Met.’ It reflects the ambience of this metropolis, another capital of melting pots and where modern blends with the classic. Bangkok won first place in the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017. Now, it is time to move to the sound and sight of this capital.
We know that Canadian travellers are avid island hoppers. Thailand boasts 936 islands scattered in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Although ‘Krabi’ is ranked the second province with the most islands in the country, it is a hidden gem worth discovering and praised as the ‘Emerald of the Andaman’. And let me invite you to meet ‘Mr. Krabi.’
Being once the heart of the Lanna civilisation, Chiang Mai is enriched with the Northern culture and still retains its charm to explore including splendid temples, way of life and people. In particular, Lanna music is very unique. To me, this melody always takes me back to my visit in Chiang Mai. Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy every essence of Lanna in the ‘Lanna Sonata.’
As it says, ‘Last but not least’, we cannot leave the floor without this song, which is about our latest communication concept and capture the varieties of travelling experiences that Thailand has to offer. Tonight, we are so honoured to have the Canadian artists to join with us including Ms. Liberty Silver, a Juno prize award singer for R&B, Mr. Aaron Elvy, a rising star from the Canadian Idol, and Mr. Enrico Galante, a renowned Canadian saxophonist.
Finally, no matter what you are, Thailand is ‘open’ to you. And I hope that every moment you share with us here tonight will lead you to meet us again in Amazing Thailand.
Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand, delivered the following speech at Thailand Briefing Networking Lunch, ITB2018, Berlin, Germany, on Friday,9March2018.
Sawasdee khrap and good afternoon.
Distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen. Before I start my presentation I think you’ve heard the tourism policy from His Excellency, therefore I would like to point out two main issues.
First one is the Thai tourism performance in2017.Secondly is the marketing and communications direction in2018.In 2017, Thailand welcomed 35 million visitors generating a total income of 1.82 trillion Baht. It is a truly remarkable achievement that the entire Thai tourism industry can be proud of. It is a tribute to the diversity of our tourism offerings and Thai local experiences that have captured the imagination of the global travelling community.
– China is now our leading source market with arrivals of 9.80 million visitors. Other top markets are Malaysia, South Korea, Lao PDR. and Japan.
– Arrivals from Europe have historically played a major role in the development of Thai tourism. In 2017,
European visitor arrivals totalled more than 6.51 million, generating 480 million Baht in revenue.
The top five highest source markets in Europe in 2017 were Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and East Europe.
The highest growth came from the Russia market, registering 23.50 percent over 2016, which reflects a strongly rebounding economy. Another interesting market is Eastern Europe, which grew by 17.40 percent. This is a positive sign after we opened our office in Prague in late 2016. In 2018, TAT has set a growth target of eight percent in tourism revenue from the international market. We are targeting a tourism revenue increase of 7.29 percent over 2017 from the European market.
For the marketing efforts in Europe, in 2017, we had the Amazing Link project to promote local experiences in second-tier cites, and this year we will continue with this project and combine it with our marketing activities that will also focus on gastronomy experiences.
Thanks to better airline accessibility, which is our key success. Please accept our appreciation for the good marketing co-operations we always have and of course our national carriers, Thai Airways International and also Bangkok Airways that bring visitors from around the world to our major and secondary destinations according to the Minister’s policy.
This year, 2018, TAT will maintain a strong flow of visitors in a highly competitive environment. Its aim is to deliver a Quality Product, thus boosting the average length of stay, expenditure and repeat visitation.
There is also an enormous pool of first-time visitors waiting to be tapped from Central Europe, the CIS, Middle East and Eastern Europe.
We see a significant growth in both arrivals and receipts from Eastern Europe, especially Poland with its market size and the Czech Republic with a high spending rate per trip.
Apart from that, Canada will also be our targeted area. In April, TAT will open a new office in Toronto to expand new markets of first-time visitors.
Also for this year, we will shift from mass markets to more specific niche markets. To achieve this, we will target customers worldwide but more in depth, and in particular these segmentations:
Gen Y and millennials who are driven by digital social media and customer-focussed activities, as they love to explore new experiences which is in line with our strategy to promote second-tier cities.
Weddings and Honeymoons. We see strong potential from this segment as Thailand offers an array of touristic products and services. For example, to make the event a truly memorable one, couples can choose from a variety of ways to get married — on the beach, under water, in the midst of a rice field, or they can even plan their own style of wedding.
Ladies travelers is another key segment. They are true influencers in their networks no matter if they are friend or member of the family. If they are impressed, then their word of mouth will spread widely and quickly. Apart from that, they are high spenders, and Thailand has a variety of tourism products and services to serve their needs including beauty and spa services, shopping, dining, lifestyle activities and much more. And unexpectedly, the ‘Thailand’s Luckiest Visitor’, the 35 millionth visitor was a lady from Munich, Germany.
Luxperience: Thailand has seen the emergence of elegant boutique resorts offering privacy and seclusion, upscale restaurants on the rooftops of many of our five star hotels, quality spas and health centres. High networth individuals can also enjoy well-equipped yachts and cruises in Phuket and Pattaya to accommodate the need of island hoppers.
The communication strategies for the international market will continue to use “Amazing Thailand”, which has been a popular and well-recognised marketing slogan for 20 years. In 2018, TAT has added to the brand with a new communication campaign called “Open to the New Shades”.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have to say that the strength of Thailand is diversity, so this communication campaign will focus on the strengths of the country. “Open to the New Shades”. “OPEN” your minds and hearts to deepen and widen your experience into a new perception of attractions and variety of experiences in Thailand.
The communication campaign will introduce brand-new products to visitors or reveal a new charming character of well-known destinations through creativity. This campaign is aimed at attracting more repeat visitors and also first-time visitors. From this concept, we will look into the million shades of Thailand. We have potential tourism products reflecting this; such as, Gastronomy, Nature/Beach, Arts and Craft, Culture, and Way of Life.
We believe this campaign will help initiate ideas for tourists to explore millions of shades of Thailand that fulfill their new pleasurable experiences even if it is a familiar destination and meanwhile enforce the strength of the locals.
To make you better understand the mood and tone about the products under the “Open to the New Shades”, I would like to show you this VDO.
In the souvenir bag that you will be given after the function, we already provide the newly printed “Open to the New Shades” manual that will allow you to explore the million shades of tourism products in Thailand.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The future of tourism will lie in the ability of everyone to create their own happiness, especially the emerging generation of young millennials. What could be more fun than designing your own trip with a personalized selection of “Mix and Match options”. The “Amazing Thailand” brand gives you this opportunity all the time wherever you go in Thailand. As such, this new campaign will be customised to accommodate every single target segment and market.
“Open to the New Shades” will make amazing Thailand stay closer than ever to the customer and offer them a new experience that they will have never had before. To all our friends amongst the tour operators here, I believe that all forms of marketing communications should play a role in driving business for you. The TAT offices in Europe will work closely with you to seek your ongoing support. We believe it will help your business grow in the right direction. Thank you for being our strategic partners in this effort.
To our friends in the media, TAT will step up its marketing communications material in line with the objectives to give greater prominence to unique local experiences of Thailand on the world stage. I wish this information will be shared with your readers and viewers.
We are looking forward to welcoming you all again in Amazing Thailand. Last but not least, for anyone who still has a question about our communication campaign “Open to the New Shades”, here is the answer.
H.E. Weerasak Kowsurat, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports delivered the following speech at Thailand Briefing Networking Lunch, ITB 2018, Berlin, Germany, on Friday, 9 March, 2018
Introduction & Greeting;
Your Excellency, Ambassador of Thailand to Germany Sawasdee khrap distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the Thai tourism industry, I would like to thank all of you joining us today, particularly local buyers for their long-standing cooperation. It is always a pleasure to be at the ITB Berlin. We all are benefitted enormously from this massive annual gathering of ideas, experiences, intellect and products.
Like the success of ITB Berlin,the Thai tourism industry is also enjoying great success. we recorded 35 million visitors last christmas, an all-time high. This year, we are reaching 36 million visitors, which is an increase of 4 percent and 51 billion Euros in tourism revenue from international visitors, an increase of 8 percent. As generating growth will no longer be a problem in the years ahead, we now focus a lot more emphasis on sustainable tourism.
Less than 2 months ago in January, Thailand have successfully hosted the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF). ASEAN is unique in its own way, bringing them all together once a year under one roof is a unique showcasing and networking opportunity. Each of us are growing and growing but it is the combined power of these individual policies, especially those related to facilitation and connectivity that makes ASEAN such a popular and rapidly-growing destination.
As an example, recently, a group of vintage cars participated in a caravan through ASEAN countries starting from Singapore, Malaysia, drive around Thailand and ending the trip in Vietnam. Participants are drivers from the UK, US, Australia, a few local ASEAN and quite a few from European countries.
This helped advance the cause of ASEAN connectivity and integration. The participants were able to drive for themselves the high quality of highways and roads, to the extent that they could even drive their vintage cars.
One of the promising emerging tourism segments in Thailand, I’d like to mention this time around, is Buddhist tourism. This niche market not only draws new comers from international to Thailand, but also into ASEAN and boosts intra travel and contributes significantly to the local economy.
According to UNESCO, 60 percent of the world’s population practice religion, and these believers form the demographic base, make an estimated 600 million national and international spiritual trips worldwide, of which around half happen in Asia.
To tap this opportunity, I plan to develop connecting routes for those who are interested in Buddhism, either for philosophers, pilgrimages, shrines visits, or faith based. This will include for those people who are interested in meditation, as well as those who are keen to learn more about the cultural and historical aspects of Buddhism; such as, Buddhist art and architecture and Buddhist way of life.
Well-known Buddhist destinations in Thailand are around Bangkok Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, up north in Lanna Area in the Mekhong and North-Eastern Area of Thailand or in Nakhon Si Thammarat down south, many have been recogised as UNESCO World Heritage Site. We offer a large number of places ranging from temples and meditation centres to art galleries and archaeological spots.
The over-arching goal is to position Thailand as a preferred destination that offers quality products and services. As Minister, I would like to emphasise further tourism promotion to local communities because this will ensure a fairer distribution of tourism income, especially for people in the villages.
Because, when local communities grow, the country grows. With travel and tourism now widely recognised as a major contributor to grassroots economies and income distribution, we are now taking measures to ensure that the benefits are better distributed across the entire nation.
Let me share you my real local experience. During my New Year Holiday, I decided to join our dear tourists at an elephant camp in Tak province up north where I bathed and gave mud spa to the elephants. I also fried omelette from the gas generated from elephant dung. Some could joke about this another kind of gastronomy tourism. For me, it is a carbon footprint management and also an inspection trip of sorts to see that the elephants are being well taken care of.
The biggest challenge is making a long-lasting impression on travellers to the Kingdom. We are building a truly sustainable tourism industry. We are now in a new era of tourism in which managing growth will become our overarching priority.
On the infrastructure investment, the government agreed to invest in building high speed train connecting 3 airports of Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao Pattaya. Yet, another high-speed train will be built from Bangkok – Hua Hin and we are expanding all railroad in the country to double tracks which make train tourism will become even more fascinating, besides being able to connect to the international rail from China.
The Government is also launching several other projects to improve tourism services and safety. For instance, improving roads to tourist sites, training tourism and security personnel, building more ramps, and developing niche tourism to go to museums, visit well kept gigantic trees either found in nature in community cars, and in temples. This will also be in line with our concept ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’ aimed at encouraging universal design catering to different groups of travellers.
We recognise the importance of promoting equal access, and I have been a keen advocate of this concept over the past several years as former Secretary General for the Thai People with Disability Development Foundation.
Last month, I had the opportunity to send-off a big group of visually impaired travellers returning to the UK from Thailand. I enjoyed learning about their experiences. They all loved Thailand, enjoyed our very tasty food (“it can be more spicy”, they said), they also said they felt local friendly people. They said they could feel the hustle and bustle in most of the cities they visited, from North to South from high land to Ocean but they always feel safe and secure. Many of them told me that their best memories is playing with the elephants. The rough skin but very gentle elephants made them feel happy. Some said they wanted to return to hug the elephants gain and again. Some elephants kiss them all over and they felt the cradle of nature and start kissing back!
These special guests saw our authenticity, experienced our warm welcome and natural hospitality. This is why we have been call the “Land of Smiles” even the visually-impaired can become aware of our Smiles from the Heart.
We love to recieve more senior travelers, families with toddlers, families with children and even rehabilitation patients.
In January this year, I attended the ‘Upcycling the Oceans’, pick up trash especially from beaches at the world’s famous Patong Beach. To be part of this activity, many foreign volunteers helped the local clean the coastline of the Andaman Sea. And now we’ve enforce regulation prohibit smoking at the front beach so that to sea breeze will remain fresh as it should.
We aims not only transforming plastic debris found in the ocean to re-process make fashionable fabric, but also to raise awareness to everyone to preserve the Kingdom’s coastal areas.
Let me brief you a bit about Bangkok itself, a new attraction in Bangkok “ICON Siam” will be a new innovative luxury landmark on the Chao Phraya River that shows us how the community can be combined together with a shopping complex. ICON Siam also invest its own golden line skytrain to connect to the existing skytrain BTS and by the way one more underground line is to be operational in Bangkok this year and at least one more every year for the next 5 years.
We are also cooperating with the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Natural Resources to create a newer dimension of tourism with a landmark project for tree and nature lovers as well as bird watchers. Many trees aged more than 100 years old can be found throughout the country. They also have folklore stories associated with them. We start inviting everyone to visit the Heritage of Trees in Thailand. Besides, we also have a plan to promote restaurants and markets aged over 100 years that still exist throughout the country. Visitor will be able to experience the good old days with the unique local experience.
The measures will support the “Go Local” campaign, a landmark project to promote the kingdom’s emerging generation of lesser visited destinations, better balance the tourist arrivals between urban and rural areas.
The annual World Wai Kru Muay Thai ceremony is scheduled to take place on next weekend in the Ayutthaya Historical Park.
MotoGP World Championship; Thailand is set to get start in October, at the Buri Ram Circuit.
Thailand Biennale in Krabi, the national initiative of contemporary art to be held from November to February next year.
The successful Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok will be held again in January 2019.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The global travel and tourism industry is at a crossroads. In future, technology will revolutionise our booking systems and transportation networks. But some things will never change, and that is the need to ensure sustainability and responsible tourism.
Once more, thank you for being here and thank you for your friendship and support. It has been a real pleasure to be with you today.