Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), delivered the following speech at the “Amazing Thailand Networking Lunch: CLMVT Connectivity” on 10 March, 2017, which was held as part of Thailand’s participation at the ITB 2017.
Sawasdee khrap, guten tag and good afternoon,
Chairman of the TAT board of Directors,
Representatives of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam, Members of the media,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to be here with you today. This year, ITB Berlin is marking its 51st anniversary. Thailand has been exhibiting here for the 43 of those 51 years, and benefitted enormously from the business, networking and knowledge that the ITB Berlin produces. We have brought a total of 88 exhibitors this year as well as introduced the Andaman culture in the southern Thailand on this global stage.
European market profile
Ladies and gentlemen,
With regards to Thailand, arrivals from Europe have historically played a major role in the development of Thai tourism. In 2016, European visitor arrivals totalled more than 6 million, a growth by 8.87 per cent, generating 12.26 billion Euros in revenue, an increase by 13.40 per cent.
The top five highest source markets in Europe last year included Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Eastern Europe.
In 2016, the European market showed the highest average length of stay of all of the regions with around 17 days per person. The average daily expenditure was around 119 Euros.
This year, we are targeting an increase of tourism revenue by 9.09 percent over last year from the European market.
To build on this, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has realised that more choices of flights are a key that can attract and keep tourists visiting a destination. So, apart from our national carriers, Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways, we have become a strategic partner with various world leading airlines to jointly work on a marketing campaign.
In early 2017, TAT signed an MoU with Etihad Airways to offer more options for the prime markets; such as, Europe and the Middle East travellers to Thailand. We also joined hands with EVA Air to connect tourists from a long-haul market, which has no direct flights to Thailand; such as, the Americas region to come to Thailand.
Yesterday, we signed an MoU with Lufthansa City Centre, one of the world’s leading travel agencies to work on a joint project ‘Thailand: Destination of the Year.’ It will cover a broad range of marketing initiatives and communications.
Thailand Tourism Direction
Ladies and gentlemen,
In 2017, we will continue to position Thailand as a ‘Preferred Destination.’ This means whenever tourists wish to have a holiday somewhere, we hope Thailand will come up among their first choices and think about the wide ranges of quality products and services that deliver experiences like nowhere else by integrating with ‘Unique Thai Local Experiences’ to differentiate us from others.
All of this will be communicated worldwide under ‘Discover Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand.’
Why must it be a local experience in Thailand?
This objective will be accomplished as our country has its strength in hospitality, unique Thai way of life, culture, history, and diverse destinations, which create a variety of amazing experiences in Thailand.
We are aware that in today’s travel industry, more and more people are looking for real and authentic stories. That is why we are going to offer “Unique Thai Local Experiences” to the world.
Moreover, we have initiated the LINK project in which ‘L’ represents Local Experiences; ‘I’ for Innovation; ‘N’ for Networking, and ‘K’ for Keeping character. This is to promote local tourism in various communities in Thailand.
The project will mainly enhance the strength of each community to attract travellers. The concept is to create ‘Strength from Within’ in order to ‘Connect the business to the World’ by increasing tourism competitiveness on the international stage. This not only encourages travellers to visit, but also to engage in cultural experiences in different parts of Thailand.
We believe that when people see, learn and interact more, it will make them appreciate what they have participated in and share these learning experiences to their friends and family.
A good example of this connectivity is that TAT Frankfurt Office joined hands with Bangkok Airways and German travel agents to promote travellers to visit secondary destinations for new experiences in Thailand, including Sukhothai, Trat, Lampang, and Chiang Rai.
Promoting the local experience will not only benefit visitors, but also the local people as well as travel agents. We strongly believe that each local community of Thailand can deliver distinctive, genuine, unique hospitality and Thai culture with new exciting experiences to tourists. Also, this will create new and unique quality products for travel agents to offer to their customers. Impressive experiences in Thailand will then turn them into loyal customers.
I will not say too much more, but will take you to discover ‘Unique Thai Local Experiences’ right now.
VIDEO (approx. 2 mins.)
Amazing Thai Taste
Today, you might be just a spectator, but one day become an experiencer yourself.
When travellers come to Thailand, food must be included in their itinerary since it fulfills the tourists’ experiences. They can choose to enjoy from the local street food to fine-dining eateries, or take a cooking class to be more sophisticated foodies.
Thai cuisine has successfully captured the attention of consumers globally. Realising that “foodie tourism” works as a catalyst to command attention, TAT has launched a new campaign under the theme – “Amazing Thai Taste,” which will motivate foodies to embark on a culinary journey to taste signature dishes in renowned venues across Thailand as the way to ‘explore Thainess through food.’
The idea comprises three significant elements including:
- Travel and eat like a local
- Food that they sample must come with a story.
- Delightful taste: Both the food and journey must be ‘delightful.’
Foodies are motivated to travel into that destination, famous for that dish in order not only to taste the food like the locals, but also to engage in the local experiences.
Expansion of airports
Phuket International Airport is positioned as the Gateway to the Andaman, which is the top destination to worldwide visitors, especially European tourists. There is a plan in action to expand its capacity from 6.5 to 12.5 million passengers per year. Right now, the new international terminal has operated since last September while the domestic terminal is being renovated and is expected to be finished by the end of this year.
Also, Suvarnabhumi Airport is currently in its Phase 2 expansion to serve from 45 to 60 million passengers per year. There are also plans to construct the first Midfield Satellite, install an Automated People Mover to carry passengers between the old and new terminals, as well as increase the number of bays from 120 to 148 to extend the capacity for a greater number of carriers.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand (CLMVT) Connectivity
As a result of the integration of ASEAN, another potential area for us to highlight is the combined tourism package of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand thanks to our shared land borders, as well as similar but different aspects to be discovered. So, we would like to promote this segment as a ‘Preferred Destination’ to European tourists, who have a high length of stay. We believe that this emerging product will capture their desire to seek unique and authentic experiences in history, culture, and various other related aspects.
Regarding the combined packages. We have numerous joint marketing activities under way at the bilateral or multilateral level among the CLMVT countries. Allow me to give some concrete examples.
We have set up a sample of four tour programmes called “AEC Seamless Discovery” to explore various attractions of Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Through our collaboration and joint efforts among the CLMVT countries, we will move forward together for the prosperity of the region. I would like to thank all of you for joining us here today and next, please welcome our representatives from the CLMV countries to present more on the connectivity and combined packages in the region.
Thank you. (ดังเค้อเชิน)
Notes to the Editor: If you would like to receive a copy of the power point presentation of this speech as well as a copy of the ‘Unique Thai Local Experiences’ VDO , please submit your request via this form.