Thai Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat Speech at ITB Berlin 2019

H.E. Weerasak Kowsurat, Minister of Tourism and Sports, delivered the following speech at the Thailand Networking Lunch, held on Friday, 8 March during the ITB 2019 in Berlin, Germany.

Thai Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat Speech at ITB Berlin 2019

Good morning distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.

It is always a pleasure to be back in Germany and ITB. Thailand is proud to have been a part of this event for forty-five years. It has given us a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

First of all, let me inform you about a historic event in Thailand this year, the Royal Coronation Ceremony for His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, which will take place between May 4 and 6. It is an ancient traditional practice, dating back to over a century ago, to celebrate the accession to the throne of the King of Thailand.

On the fourth of May, a time to celebrate not only by the Thais but from the world,  His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be officially crowned as King Rama the tenth of the Chakri dynasty, according to traditions governing the monarchy.

The earliest process in the preparation of the Royal Coronation Ceremony is to collect water from different important sources in the Kingdom, which will be combined and blessed to be used for the Purification Ceremony for the Royal Coronation Ceremony.

Many of these series of events will be broadcasted through medias but nothing can be compared to being there as a part of the activities or at least go visit the places where the holy water is collected throughout the country.

Thai Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat Speech at ITB Berlin 2019

Ladies and gentlemen

At the Thai pavilion this year, the Thailand tourism team includes eighty-eight exhibitors including seventy-eight hotels and resorts while the others are tour operators and tourism-related agencies. Eighteen are first-time exhibitors at ITB. This year, the Thailand Pavilion has a presence by the Sports Authority of Thailand and Arts of the Kingdom Museum.

The Thai Pavilion has been designed in line with the concept of “Open to the New Shades of Thailand” focusing on the products and services of the emerging tourist destinations in Thailand that have the potential to meet the needs of European tourists.

Beside, the main attractions you usually know from the North, the East, to the South of Thailand, Isan or the Northeast of Thailand is another region worth exploring as it is acclaimed as one of the top 17 places to visit in the world by CNN travel experts, which I am going to tell you more details later.

Distinguished guests,

In 2018, European visitors were up 3.8 percent to 6.7 million. Russia retained its status as the larger source market from Europe with arrivals of 1.4 million. The United Kingdom was the second highest source market followed by Germany, and France while visitors from East Europe grew by 9 percent. The growth is still impressive this year.

In the years ahead, we will emphasise on the promotion of ‘Responsible Tourism.’

Due to our unique geographical location, at the crossroads of Asia and within a few hours flying distance of some of Asia’s populous cities, we are now recognized as the most visited destination from the world. The key will be to manage those numbers. So, we are striving to reduce tourist congestion in the main hubs by promoting emerging provincial destinations, upgrading the standards of safety and security, and lifting a higher level of environmental consciousness across the entire industry.

We are directing the future path of our industry in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Thailand is known all over the world for its superb tourism products and services, as well as the friendliness and hospitality of its people. We now have to better balance quantity versus quality, and deeply focus on improving the management. This will be our agenda to move forward.

To action this strategy, this year, we are undertaking a range of environmental initiatives in different industry and economic sectors. The over-arching theme is ‘Responsible Tourism’ designed to minimise the threat of over tourism.

I am proud to recognise the leading role of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in these commendable nationwide efforts. In its ongoing mission to build on and further enhance the practice of sustainable and responsible tourism, we have launched a series of programmes and campaigns in cooperation with numerous public and private sector partners.

For almost two years now, the ‘Upcycling the Oceans’ still continues. Plastic debris collected from the ocean will be transformed into thread to make fabric; such as, shirts, bags, and shoes.

Another example that reflects a joint effort between private sector and local community in the province of Pattani is Tlejorn-brand recycled flips-flops that are made of ocean debris.

Today, we have brought Tlejorn shoes as souvenirs for you. Please take them before you leave the function.

This zero profit business is a result of the collaboration between Trash Hero volunteers, polymer scientists from local university in ปัตตานี, designer brands, and the locals of Pattani province. The income goes directly to local flips-flop makers and volunteer activities of Trash Hero Pattani Province. For more details, please visit the Tlejorn website.

This year, the Thai government takes the courage to make 147 national parks and marine parks throughout the country stop Styrofoam and Plastic Bags entering into their parks, while so many local administration authorities are working with local convenience shops and general people to end the use of Styrofoam containers or other items and switch to eco-friendly materials or using a lunchbox.

The province of Krabi was awarded the ‘Global Low-Carbon Ecological Scenic Spot’ at the 2018 Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements and Sustainable Cities at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific or ESCAP in Bangkok.

The Thai Government also takes the courage to ban on Smoking at 24 Thai beachfronts to promote clean and safe environment for all. The ban came into effect since last two years.

Allow me to also mention one potential niche market to people with physical challenges. Last year, a group of wheelchair travellers from Europe made their visit to Asia’s first underwater museum in Phang Nga province, and we still see a growing number of this segment. Accordingly, we are stepping up our efforts to improve more facilities to cater to this segment. Thailand has seen that the ‘Wheelchair Scuba Thailand’ project has been initiated and teaches those physically challenged to learn how to dive into the ocean. Recently, Chiara Bordi, Miss Italy 2018’s second runner-up with amputated leg, came to learn a scuba diving with SDI/TDI master-certificate Thai trainer. This is to restate that ‘Tourism for All’ is emphasised in Thailand. We have certified professionals that can look after those who need special care and wish to learn scuba diving in Thailand.

In addition to tourism for all, we also realised that accessibility to tourism information for tourists is also significant. So, an application named TAGTHAI has been created to be a National Tourism Platform that links travel information, products and services of entrepreneurs throughout a value chain. This will let tourists access the necessary and reliable travel information while spending on products and services within the same platform throughout the journey.  The application will be launched in early April and can be downloaded and from the App Store and Play Store.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Next, I will show you just a small selection of potential products from recommended emerging destinations. These cities will also focus on responsible tourism in order to make these areas and tourist attractions sustainable, as well as preserve their own local identity.

Chiang Rai: I am sure you are all aware of the amazing rescue of the Wild Boars team of young footballers at the Tham Luang Cave in June-July 2018. Tham Luang is now becoming a major tourist spot in its own right. The Cave itself is undergoing preparation for the visitors with completion expected by the end of this year. However, tourists can visit the exhibition about the entire mission. There are many interesting tourist attractions around it; for example, at Pang Ha community, visitors will learn about the Karen ethnic group’s wisdom on how to make mulberry paper.

Mae Hong Son: This destination is very close to the border with Myanmar, and not far from Chiang Mai. It is characterised by nature and the cultural integration between the Tai Yai ethnic group and Thai people. It is famous for their embroidered woven fabrics. ‘Mae Hong Son Doister CraftStay’ tour focuses on getting tourists to experience the history of the local art and craftwork.

Trang: Located in South Thailand, Trang is known as a ‘foodie haven’ and offers a beach getaway for those who prefer an off-the-beaten track holiday; such as, Ko Muk, and the Emerald Cave. Trang is also recognised as a habitat to the largest group of dugongs, or sea cows in Thailand. At the Ban Nam Rap community, travellers can join us in saving the sea cows by planting sea grass, which is staple food for dugongs.

Ranong – Another hidden gem on the Andaman coast that makes a secluded beach getaway; such as, Ko Phayam We can offer organic farm tour on the island that implements the Sufficiency Economy and way of life to manage community-based tourism. Highlight activities include learning how to tap a rubber tree, processing raw cashew nuts into finished products, and collecting vegetables from a farm for cooking.

Chanthaburi: Chanthaburi is an emerging tourism city close to the border with Cambodia on our rapidly emerging Eastern Economic Corridor. It is most famous for that well-known fruit, durian, which I am sure many of you have tried. Moreover, Chanthaboon community along the riverside greatly reflects the simplicity of life and how it is well conserved by the locals. When you go there, please do make a stop at Baan Luangrajamaitri Historic Inn, which won the Award of Merit in the annual UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. According to the UNESCO, it sparks awareness about heritage conservation and engage over 500 shareholders in investment to restore this 150-year-old building. Furthermore, the ancient markets in Chanthaburi have piloted in promoting the use of straw that is made of lotus stem instead of plastic.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Besides the emerging destinations I have just mentioned, there is another destination in the Northeastern part of Thailand, which is gaining interest in our international markets and is one of the gateways to the Greater Mekong Subregion. I am referring to Nakhon Phanom, which borders to Lao PDR. and is connected by the third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River.

If you are a culture venture and enthusiastic cyclist, this province will be a perfect choice that allows you to explore cultures of seven ethnic groups and visit the main city’s most famous stupa, Phrathat Phanom while the cycling experience along the Mekong River makes it one of the country’s most impressive bike routes.

Finally, distinguished guests, let me alert you to some upcoming events which you may find interesting:

  • World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony in the second week of March 2019, at the Ayutthaya Historical Park.
  • Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+ 2019) in the first week of June 2019, at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Pattaya.
  • Phi Ta Khon Festival in the first week of July 2019, in Loei.
  • Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival, in the third week of July 2019, in Ubon Ratchathani.
  • MotoGP Thailand in the first week of October 2019, in Buri Ram.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for being with us today. We look forward to working with you. Danke schon thank you, and sawasdee khrap.

TAT Deputy Governor Speech at SATTE 2019

Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for the Marketing Communications, delivered the following speech at the Amazing Thailand Product Presentation at SATTE 2019, held on Tuesday, 15 January 2019, from 11.45-12.15 Hrs., at Shangri-La Eros Hotel, New Delhi.

TAT Deputy Governor Speech at SATTE 2019

Namaste, Sawasdee khrap and good morning, 

On behalf of the Thai tourism industry, it is always a pleasure to be back in India, a country which we in Thailand share historic heritage and culture.

I would like to extend to you a very warm welcome to this special event today and thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to share with you the latest Thai tourism situation and update you on new destinations.

Thai Tourism Situation

You may be wondering how the Thai tourism industry is going. The preliminary figure from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports shows that in 2018, Thailand welcomed 38.1 million international visitors, up by 7.2 percent over the same period of the previous year, generating an estimated 4.4 trillion Rupees in tourism revenue or up by 9 percent.

To ensure that Thailand is a world famous destination for all travellers, the latest Mastercard GDCI has ranked Bangkok as the number one destination in terms of international overnight visitors for the third consecutive year, with Phuket and Pattaya also in the global top 20 at twelfth and eighteenth, respectively.

Bangkok is also basking in the limelight of being ranked the third city in dollars spent on food and beverage and ranked the sixth in the shopping category.

Thailand has emerged as the most popular tourist destination for Indian travellers. We have seen growth in the number of Indian travelers and 2018 was a phenomenal year for us as the preliminary figure from January to November of Indian visitors shows a  growth of 12 percent, taking the figure to 1.42 million.

Due to the latest exemption of the visa-on-arrival fee, Thailand has welcomed 143 thousand applicants from Indian visitor which shows a growth of 63% compared to December 2017.

Last week, the Thai government recently extended the exemption of the visa-on-arrival fee for citizens of 20 countries and one territory including Indian, from January 14th to April 30th 2019 in order to attract foreign tourists during Chinese New Year and the popular Songkran Festival.

Indian Market

In 2017, repeat visitors comprised 58 percent of the total, the average daily expenditure was 12,500 Rupees, and the average length of stay was 7.45 days.

Furthermore, the ratio of visitors travelling with groups and independently was 31:69.

Today, a new generation of experienced, well-heeled and Internet-savvy Indian travellers are venturing to new destinations; such as, Chiang Rai, Rayong, Trat, Hua Hin and Samut Songkhram.

International Marketing Direction and Communications

This year, TAT will use tourism to promote sustainable development with the community as the ultimate beneficiary. We believe this will pave the way for Thailand to be a preferred destination among international visitors.

On the communications side, the concept “Amazing Thailand Open to the New Shades” will be carried forward in 2019 to invite the audience to immerse themselves in Thai Unique Local Experiences unlike anywhere in the world.

Experience the culture that changes over time, but always remains completely Thai.  Learn from the local people and open up the minds of visitors  physically, mentally and spiritually by offering “The Millions of Hidden Shades”….

The growing sophistication and maturity of the Indian traveller has given us an enormous opportunity to promote our emerging range of niche-market products. Thailand has a variety of destinations to offer, especially when considering the costs.

First-time travellers: Our offices here have launched a website http://thailandfirstvisit.com/  to be a helping tool for anyone who plans to visit Thailand for the very first time.  From the glorious ruins of ancient cities to the excitement of dynamic modern Bangkok,  from the lush forested hills of the North to the white sandy beaches and tropical islands of the South, from sporting activities to fun-filled entertainment.

Thailand boasts world-class products; such as, hotels, resorts, beaches, theme parks, spas, shopping options and internationally acclaimed golf courses; all supported by the wonderful and warm Thai hospitality.

Women travellers: Thailand’s golden beaches and city delights have attracted millions of women travellers with numbers increasing by the year. Bangkok, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai are the famous destinations for women travellers. From the moment you step off the plane, you will notice that Thailand is a wonderful place for women travellers.

A wide range of tailored products and services from accommodation, transport to shopping, and everything in between is on hand, so that when you wave goodbye to the ‘Land of Smiles’, it is really a ‘see you again soon’.

For any information, special deals, discounts and privileges in Thailand for women travellers, please visit our website https://womensjourney.tourismthailand.org/

Luxury travellers: For those seeking a tailored luxury experience, no one does hospitality like the Land of Smiles. Friendly personal service is a staple of Thai culture, so luxury tourism providers can find other ways to customise an unforgettable experience in Thailand, from a private jet to private luxury carriages or well-equipped and prestigious yachts, from private butlers who help with everything from unpacking to cocktail parties, to penthouse suites packed with the best amenities, to simply expediting immigration and customs for a faster, stress-free start and end to your holiday.

Weddings & Honeymoons: It has now become a trend amongst high net worth Indians to celebrate special occasions out of the country. Thailand with its proximity, comfort level, and affordable luxury is becoming popular for weddings and honeymoons.  Last year, we estimated that almost 300 Indian destination weddings were held in Thailand.  With its natural beauty, luxury hotels, and world-famous hospitality, Thailand continues to be the most desired foreign country for Indian couples to tie the knot.

Now, I would like to share the moment of joy and love of an Indian couple who just got married in Thailand. A commercial idea is not needed because the testimonial from the bride and groom in this video will show you how amazing it is when you plan to do a wedding in Thailand…

—————-Wedding Video (3 minutes.)— ——————-

The TAT New Delhi Office has created a special website to provide couples, wedding organisers, and travel agents in India with useful information for planning a wedding.  The content has been curated by persons of Indian origin residing in Thailand and who have years of experience organising Indian weddings in Thailand. You will find information for weddings and honeymoons in Thailand on the website http://www.myweddinginthailand.com/

Family Travel: Thailand has a wide variety of tourism resources, attractions, activities, infrastructure, hospitality and services that fit all age groups.The nature-inspired city of Samut Songkhram is also a perfect destination for families.  Ban Bang Phlap (บ้านบางพลับ) Community Centre is the main attraction.

Here, families can experience the way of life of the local Thai people living in traditional teak houses set among fruit orchards and exploring the surrounding orchards on foot or by bicycle. Enjoy fresh fruits and fresh air, learn how to plant organic fruits, produce organic fertiliser and ferment sweet fruits.

Air Connectivity

Bilateral airline capacity is at an all-time high with 307 weekly flights between Thailand and 15 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.

We expect airline connectivity to grow even further this year when the U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport, which is very close to Pattaya, starts attracting more attention from Indian airlines. U-Tapao is a former naval base with superb aviation infrastructure. The Airport is now being served by airlines; such as, AirAsia, Bangkok Airways and Thai Lion Air on the domestic sectors.

In addition, it has a number of charter flights operating from international as well. Visitors have easier access to the Eastern Seaboard region destinations of Pattaya, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat.

Before I leave this stage, I would like to thank you all for sharing your valuable time with us. Let me assure you all that we value our Indian visitors and are doing everything possible to ensure that they have an enjoyable and pleasant stay in Thailand.

Our offices here in New Delhi and Mumbai will work closely with you to seek your support as well as collaborate with you in marketing and communications. We believe it will help your business grow in the right direction. Thank you again for being our strategic partners in this effort.

Sawasdee khrap.

TAT Deputy Governor Speech at ATF 2019

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and the South Pacific, delivered the following speech at the Thailand Media Briefing, ATF 2019, held on Thursday, 17 January, 2019, from 09.00-09.45 Hrs., at Quang Ninh Exhibition of the Planning and Expo Centre (QNEPEC) in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

TAT Deputy Governor Speech at ATF 2019

Introduction

Xin chào,

Sawasdee khrap and good morning distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the Thai tourism industry, I would like to welcome you all here at the Thirty-eighth ASEAN Tourism Forum in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh’s most famous UNESCO Natural Wonder of Vietnam. With the theme “ASEAN: THE POWER OF ONE”, the event is designed to promote tourism to and within the ASEAN region.

Throughout this year, Thailand has an important role as the ASEAN chairman. Under the theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, we will seek to develop an ASEAN community, which is people-centred, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future.

Thailand’s Tourism Situation

– Overall Statistics 2018

The Thai tourism industry recorded total international arrivals of 38 million, up by seven percent that generated an estimated 62 billion USD (2 trillion Baht), up by 10 percent over 2017. China headed the list with more than 10 million arrivals.

In 2019, TAT has set a growth target of six percent and 10 percent in arrival numbers and tourism revenue, respectively from the international market. Meanwhile, we expect to see an increase of seven percent for the number of arrivals and 11 percent for tourism revenue in the ASEAN market.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to tell you briefly about the Vietnam market. Vietnam is one of Thailand’s most vibrant short-haul markets. In 2018, Thailand recorded for the first time to welcome over 1 million visitors from Vietnam. We hope to see continuity on this growth.

Thailand now has 240 weekly flights (operated by Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Thai Vietjet, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, Nok Air, Thai AirAsia, Thai Lion Air, Vietjet Air, and Vietnam Airlines) linking key cities; such as, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Phu Quoc, Da Nang and Dalat to Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. We expect to see a six percent increase in Vietnamese visitors coming to Thailand this year.

International Marketing Direction

The official government policy now is to ensure that the nation is prosperous and sustainable, and pursues development in line with the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.

In line with the government’s policy, TAT has followed our corporate plan (2018-2021), which positions Thailand as a world-class destination in a sustainable way as well as stimulates the economy of the rural areas by prioritising 55 secondary destinations and reduce the income disparity between the urban and rural areas.

For the international market, TAT is working under three main strategies:

  • Positioning Thailand as a “Preferred Destination” by offering quality products and services while maintaining a balance between the demand and supply side.
  • Stimulating expenditure and expanding the mid-high income market segments; such as, by emphasising on fine-dining Michelin star restaurants (Michelin Guide Book – Bangkok, Phuket, Phang Nga).
  • Expanding niche markets; such as, luxury, weddings and honeymoons, sports tourism, and health and wellness.

Secondary Destinations

Distinguished guests,

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.

However, I have to say that it is not an easy task to select a destination to promote. We are well aware of the over-tourism issues. That’s why TAT has carefully hand 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.

TAT has focused on assessing the readiness of communities in emerging cities. Therefore, a city’s potential after the number of tourists and the occupancy rate has been divided into three tiers:

Tier 1: Provinces that are ready to be sold; such as, Nan, Buri Ram, Chumphon, and Trat.

Tier 2: Provinces that require intensive promotion; such as, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Phanom, and Satun.

Tier 3: Provinces that should be promoted for a day trip; such as, Phrae, Lamphun, and Kalasin.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to tell you that Khon Kaen, one of the major provinces in Northeastern Thailand recently crossed the record of visitor numbers to over five million person/trips. This achievement will provide more potential to use Khon Kaen as a hub city and to link it to promote nearby secondary cities; such as, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, and Kalasin.

From this model, we aim to promote the emerging destination with a major destination that matches to each market’s preference; such as, Chiang Mai will be promoted with Lampang and Chiang Rai while Phuket will be promoted with Satun and Trang.

Sustainable Tourism

Distinguished guests,

As Thailand is very committed to developing a further understanding of environmental mindfulness among Thai and foreign visitors, we encourage all to join us in the development of the sustainable tourism sector. Here are a few items to mention.

Now, plastic bags and Styrofoam containers has been banned from being taken into any of Thailand’s national parks or zoos.

Also, Phuket’s public and private sectors recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) of the Phuket Sustainable Tourism Blueprint 2018 to initiate the ‘No Foam, No Plastic’ campaign with the effort to encourage local shops and people to switch entirely to paper or eco-friendly bags and drinking straws.

TAT has also launched a ‘Travel Thailand in Style, Reduce Plastic Waste’ collaboration initiative with various stakeholders in a bid to cut tourism-related waste by up to 50 percent by 2020.

With regards to recognition, Nan province was selected as the No. 1 ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard at the ATF 2018 while Krabi was awarded the “Global Low-carbon Ecological Scenic Spot” at the 2018 Annual Session of the Global Forum on Human settlements and Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards.

Marketing Communications

The “Amazing Thailand Open to the New Shades” is still being used as our communication concept throughout this year. However, we have enhanced it by offering Thai Unique Local Experiences with “The Millions of Hidden Shades” perspective to the audience.

As diversity is what makes Thailand amazing and we believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we have come up with the concept of letting visitors obtain experiences from the local people and open their minds to see the aspects of Thailand’s beauty through their own perspectives.

To give you a better understanding about our communication concept, I would like to show you this VDO. Please enjoy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour that Thailand was voted the world’s Best Country for People by readers of Conde Nast Traveller UK in the 2018 Readers’ Travel Awards. This award is our encouragement to retain the biggest asset of the Thai people: our friendliness, generosity, and hospitality. This is another shade of Thailand we would like to communicate more in the years ahead.

ASEAN Connectivity Activities

ASEAN Together Run 2019: Starting from 18 September, 2018, to 8 August, 2019, TAT has organised the ASEAN Together Run 2019 to promote tourism with ASEAN countries under the concept of ‘Run and Travel’ through a Virtual Run, which encourages people to run anywhere in the ASEAN countries.

The run is open to all levels starting from a fun run of 5 kilometres up to 200 kilometres at an ultra-level. The highlight is the medal designed with the concept “The One”. The landmark of each ASEAN country will be presented in 5 separate pieces, which can be assembled altogether to complete one medal. Registration is open today at www.aseantogetherrun.com, and runners can accumulate their distances until ASEAN Day on 8 August 8 2019.

ASEAN Pop Culture: Experience the lifestyle of ASEAN in the vibe of popular culture. As such, we have linked the charms of the ASEAN countries with gastronomy, fashion, art, literature, music, and so on.

The activities include taking Thai artists to visit neighbouring countries and doing co-creation art activities with artists in Myanmar, and Cambodia with the concept ASEAN Culture “The Same Oneness”. In addition, they will travel to Thailand’s secondary cities; such as, Sukhothai, Chiang Rai and Trat to create their art activities as well. The activities are set to be held between November 2018 – August 2019.

Experience Thailand and More Edition II: The second edition of the pocketbook “Experience Thailand and More” is to enhance this ASEAN Connectivity initiative with new destination combinations. This latest edition will promote ASEAN as a single destination with Thailand as the region’s primary aviation and tourism hub, so TAT will launch “Experience Thailand and More Edition II”. The routes include ‘Discovering Thai and Khmer Life at the Grassroots’ (Thailand – Cambodia) and ‘Following a Route of Spirituality and Cultures’ (Thailand – Myanmar).

The ‘Experience Thailand and More Edition II’ recommended travel routes that connect cities in ASEAN is also in line with TAT’s latest marketing concept of ‘Open to the New Shades’, which highlights how visitors can discover new perspectives in existing Thai attractions, or indulge in experiences in new tourist attractions in the Kingdom and beyond.

Products Update

Shopping Opportunities: As Thailand has been well-known as a shopping paradise, I would like to recommend you a few of our latest trendy shopping developments:

ICON Siam: This comprises two shopping complexes: the ICONSIAM main wing and ICONLUXE luxury wing, and two residential condominium buildings located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, which is now open to welcome all visitors.

King Power Mahanakhon: is Thailand’s new landmark, located in the heart of Bangkok. It is not only a luxury residence, but also the home of King Power’s retail and duty-free shops along with an observation deck boasting the city’s most epic views at 314 metres at the King Power Mahanakhon SkyWalk.

Central Village is another project scheduled to open at the end of this year. The new complex will be located near Suvarnabhumi Airport with more than 200 luxury outlet malls and a 200-room hotel. 

Apart from the entertainment side, I would like to update you a bit more regarding the facilitated products of Thailand. 

Accessibility: Rail transport in Thailand is also developing with plans to operate a high-speed railway to the Eastern provinces that will connect the three international airports of Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya, and another line to Hua Hin in the southern part to facilitate business and tourism in the area.

A new joint venture agreement has been signed between Thai Airways International and Airbus to establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport. This will create one of the most modern and extensive services in the Asia-Pacific region bringing significant economic benefits for the aviation business in the country.

E–visa: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will launch an online E-visa application service on 15 February, 2019, starting first with the Chinese market and then expanding it in phases to other countries worldwide within three years. Beijing will be the first Chinese city where the service will be available followed by other Chinese cities. Other countries to follow will be the United Kingdom on 1 March and France on 1 April. The online visa will automate and speed up the visa application process globally.

Upcoming events

The Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok 2019 presented by TOYOTA will be held on 3 February, 2019. This unforgettable marathon with Thai cultural food for runners at the finish line will be taking place in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bangkok, the Democracy Monument near the world famous night market street of Khao San Road.

The annual World Wai Kru Muay Thai ceremony has become a firm fixture on the calendars of Muay Thai fans all over the world, and also takes place to celebrate Nai Khanom Tom Day. This year is the event’s fifteenth edition, which is scheduled to take place on 16-17 March, 2019, in Ayutthaya province.

2019 PTT Thailand Grand Prix, the world’s number one motorcycle road-racing championship watched by more than 800 million people and broadcast live to more than 200 countries around the world. In 2019, the racing is scheduled to be held on 4-6 October, 2019, at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram.

Conclusion

Distinguished guests,

As I mentioned earlier, Thailand expects to be a “Preferred Tourist Destination”. Our strengths and competitive advantages will continue to serve us in good stead. We look forward to working with you for mutual benefit in promoting Thailand to your guests and clients.

Finally, I thank all of you for joining us here and for your ongoing support. No matter how much effort we put into promoting Amazing Thailand, we cannot succeed without you.

Thank you and sawasdee khrap.

TAT Deputy Governor Marketing Communications speech at opening of TAT Toronto Office

TAT Deputy Governor Marketing Communications speech at opening of TAT Toronto Office

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.

11,628 kilometres.

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:

Gastronomy:

  • ‘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.

Culture:

  • 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.

TAT Deputy Governor Marketing Communications speech at ITB Berlin 2018

ITB Berlin 2018 Tanes Petsuwan

Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand, delivered the following speech at Thailand Briefing Networking Lunch, ITB 2018, Berlin, Germany, on Friday, 9 March 2018. 

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 in 2017. Secondly is the marketing and communications direction in 2018. 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.

Thank you and sawasdee khrap.

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