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TAT hosts thank you party for long-stay vip guests

Bangkok, Thailand: About 100 people who are long-stay residents of Thailand were hosted to a dinner reception recently by…

Bangkok, Thailand: About 100 people who are long-stay residents of Thailand<.> were hosted to a dinner reception recently by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT<.>) to thank them for choosing Thailand as their second home, as well as to encourage more people around the world to follow suit.

Minister to the Prime Minister`s Office and TAT Chairman H.E. Mr. Somsak Thepsutin presided over the Long-stay VIP Thank You Party at Suan Pakkad Palace Museum in Bangkok on Tuesday 11.

The party was attended by about 100 important long-stay visitors mainly from Japan, the US, Australia and Europe. They ranged from retirees and senior citizens, educational instructors and students, health experts and sports professionals, the four main categories of long-stay visitors being sought by Thailand via special visas.

About 100 executives of long-stay partners, i.e., suppliers of goods and services to long-stay visitors like hotels, spas, airlines and health organisations, also attended the event.

TAT Chairman Somsak commented, Thailand is becoming increasingly popular as a place for long-stay visitors because of its good weather, inexpensive cost of living, high quality of medical services and recreational facilities.

This project will help us boost the average visitor length of stay and daily expenditure, as long-stay visitors generate business for companies in related sectors like food and beverage, education, accommodation as well as health and sports.

This in turn creates more jobs for Thai people, disseminates tourism revenue nationwide and helps the housing and real estate businesses which have been affected by the economic crisis, added Mr. Somsak.

Invitees to the party were treated to a one- hour tour of the Suan Pakkad Palace Museum followed by a cocktail reception. After the opening ceremony and speeches, the invitees were treated to a dinner and performance of Thai classical dance.

Some VIP long-stay visitors were appointed as honorary `Long-stay Ambassadors` who will promote Thailand as quality long-stay tourism destination in their home countries and encourage more such visitors to take up residence. More such appointments are to be made in future in Thailand as well as other countries.

TAT will also interview and film these Long- stay Ambassadors and other VIP guests for use in its new advertising campaigns to present Thailand as a peaceful and stable country that welcomes foreign visitors.

The long-stay project is the first part of TAT`s `Be My Guest` campaign which is to be launched in early 2002, targeted at both regular tourists and future long-stay visitors.

The Cabinet on June 26, 2001, set up a sub-committee under the chairmanship of TAT Chairman Somsak to oversee and speed up the plans to promote long-stay tourism. The sub-committee comprises of representatives of over 20 government organisations entrusted with the job of attracting as well as servicing the needs of long-stay visitors.

According to TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan, Thailand is home to around 10,000 long-stay visitors, including some 7,000 elderly.

She said that the government has already approved the establishment of a non-profit agency to manage and promote long-stay programmes.

Target long-stay visitors include retirees and pensioners, visitors travelling for medical and health services, international athletes who choose Thailand as their training venue as well as international students.

Due to the somewhat unique nature of the market, long-stay visitors require special attention. Hence, a one-stop tourism administration is under consideration to provide quick and efficient services in processing future applications.

Retirees and pensioners are a special target. For them, the Thai government has launched a new visa classification allowing foreigners aged 55+ to stay in Thailand for up to a year, renewable on the condition that they show proof that they can support themselves during their stay in Thailand. The visa can be applied for at Royal Thai embassies or Consular offices abroad.

The TAT`s three Japanese offices are already working with various Japanese tour operators to promote long-stay traffic. One major tour operator, KNT, alone has a membership database of about two million mature market travellers.

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