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

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.


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


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

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.

Amazing Thailand Romance Trade Meet event staged for Chinese market

Bangkok, 14 January, 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently staged the Amazing Thailand Romance Trade Meet event, bringing from China wedding planners and travel agents selling honeymoon holidays to meet and discuss prospect businesses with Thai wedding and honeymoon planners.

The Amazing Thailand Trade Meet table-top event, including TAT’s Thailand luxury, romantic product update, was held on 9 January in Bangkok.

The 50 participants including some members of the media also had the opportunity to explore Thai culture and history, as well as beautiful natural attractions and a variety of amenities and accommodation in Surat Thani (Ko Samui) and Ayutthaya.

Amazing Thailand Romance Trade Meet event staged for Chinese market

Mrs. Titiporn Maneenate, TAT Executive Director of the East Asia Region (above photo, 2nd from right), said the event formed part of TAT’s initiative to enhance the positioning of Thailand as the preferred wedding and honeymoon destination among Chinese couples.

She said that over the years, TAT had proactively been working on various strategies and initiatives to promote Thailand as a destination where luxurious, romantic dreams come true.

“For China, weddings and honeymoons are considered as the highly specialised niche market with Thailand being among the popular destinations for luxurious and romantic travel.”

Meanwhile, the presence of journalists and social influencers during the trip also meant favourable coverage of the activity in the online and offline media channels across China, estimated to achieve about a 15 million reach.

*More photos from the Amazing Thailand Trade Meet table-top event.

Amazing Thailand Romance Trade Meet event staged for Chinese market Amazing Thailand Romance Trade Meet event staged for Chinese market Amazing Thailand Romance Trade Meet event staged for Chinese market


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