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Tourism Authority of Thailand

More flights from UK to spur visitor arrivals

Thailand is expected to attract record numbers of visitors from the UK in 2005…

Thailand is expected to attract record numbers of visitors from the UK in 2005 as a result of its highly successful participation in the World Travel Market (WTM) in London during 8 – 11 November, 2004.

In addition to launching its new marketing campaign, “Happiness on Earth,” the Thai tourism industry received the good news that more flights were in the pipeline.

Thai carrier Phuket Air is to increase its services between Bangkok and London Gatwick Airport to five times a week starting 16 December, 2004, up from three times a week when it launched its flights in July.

And national carrier THAI Airways is set to increase flights between Bangkok and London Heathrow starting 16 June, 2005 to two flights a day.

Thailand had the second largest representation in the Asia-Pacific section, after India. It featured a record total of 103 tourism companies including 82 accommodation firms (hotels, resorts and spas), 17 tour operators, one amusement park and three transportation companies including THAI Airways, Phuket Air and Bangkok Airways.

The Thai pavilion was buzzing with activity throughout, more so because of the presence of two traditional Thai masseuses giving free foot and body massage to the buyers and visitors.

Providing free massages at major trade shows has become a trademark for Thailand, and it goes a long way towards boosting the popularity of the Thai pavilion.

Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn, Deputy Governor for International Marketing of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “The highly popular massage section complemented the large participation of health and spa resorts, which is attracting many new first-time visitors from the UK, especially women.”

She added, “The WTM always provides an excellent opportunity for the Thai tourism industry to develop closer relations with British and European tour operators and bring them up to date with our new niche tourism products and services as part of our efforts to promote Thailand as a world-class destination.”

The WTM is the world’s second biggest travel trade show after the Internationale Tourismus-Borse (ITB) in Berlin. This year WTM celebrated its 25th anniversary and attracted 5,000 leading suppliers and 44,000 industry professionals from over 190 countries.

The United Kingdom is Thailand’s most important source of arrivals from Europe. Between January – July 2004, arrivals from the UK to Thailand totalled 354,685, an increase of 11.95% over the same period last year, making it the seventh largest source of arrivals overall.

During this period, female visitors totalled 143,793, an increase of 24.09% over the same period last year, much higher than the 4.79% increase in male visitors. First time UK visitors were up a phenomenal 34.24%, proving that the marketing campaigns by TAT, THAI Airways and the private sector are reaping solid results.

Business travellers were up 6.1% to 18,603. Convention delegates were up 91.28% to 2,129.

In 2003, visitors from the UK to Thailand stayed an average of 12.23 days and spent an average of 3,417.91 baht (US$82.38) per person per day. This generated a total tourism foreign exchange revenue of 22.78 billion baht (US$549.09 million) for the Thai economy.

As of October 2004, there were 35 direct scheduled flights per week between Bangkok and London being operated by five airlines – THAI Airways, Phuket Air, British Airways/Qantas and Eva Air.

In addition, Middle East airlines like Etihad, Gulf Air, Emirates and Qatar Airways which have a huge number of flights to London are heavily promoting Bangkok as a holiday destination via their respective hubs in the Gulf region.

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