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Tourism Authority of Thailand

Thai tourism remains strong and resilient- pre crisis release

The Thai tourism industry has once again proved its resilience by ending 2004 strongly inspite of the various internal and external crises…

The Thai tourism industry has once again proved its resilience by ending 2004 strongly inspite of the various internal and external crises that affected the industry at large.

Through aggressive and intense campaigns all year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has maintained the flow of visitor arrivals inspite of the unrest in the far South, the bird flu outbreak and rising oil prices.

International visitor arrivals to Thailand between January and September 2004 saw a total of 8,455,947 visitors, a 22.89% increase over the same period last year.

Throughout 2004, TAT maintained a strong marketing focus on attracting ‘quality’ tourists, visitors who stayed longer and spent more.

TAT Governor Mrs Juthamas Siriwan said, “Thailand was heavily promoted as a high-quality world class destination all around the world through intense campaigns, organisation of many different tourism activities and participation in global travel trade shows and regional roadshows.”

She added, “We also strengthened the branding of Thailand as a destination of diversity through our Amazing Thailand – Unseen Treasures campaign. Well-known events and festivals like Songkran and Loi Krathong were heavily publicised to position Thailand as a cultural destination.”

The meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition (MICE) industry also fared well with a number of high-profile conferences being held, especially in Bangkok.

“Our partnership with the US-based Cendant Global Distribution System has helped us access different target groups to sell our excellent tourism products and services.

“In addition we were able to stimulate more travel during the Green Season and solve problems arising from zero-cost tours in the Chinese market,” she added.

To reduce congestion in popular destinations, TAT heavily promoted new tourism products in alternative destinations like Khao Lak in Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang, Ko Chang, Hua Hin, Cha-am, Chiang Rai, Ko Samui, Kanchanaburi, and Isan or the Northeastern region.

The northeastern region was given a special boost, with special packages being created along with neighbouring countries to promote Thailand as a Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion.

The domestic market was also very robust this past year. Many new campaigns were launched to boost domestic travel and spending.

One of the most popular campaigns, based on the slogan ‘Unseen Thailand’, will be continued in 2005 to highlight the most extraordinary parts of the country.

The campaign is broken down into a number of sub-promotions, each emphasising a different aspect like wonders of nature, adventure places, places of worship, and cultures or traditions and way of life.

A ‘Family Fun One-Day Trip’ was promoted in all regions nationwide using the major cities in each region as a hub for all the promotional activities such as travelling by car to 14 provinces along 20 different routes.

These campaigns helped boost domestic travel, with an estimated 44.49 million trips in the first six months of 2004, +8.67% over the same period of 2003. This was well above the projected growth of 5.51%.

The projected target is 73.18 million domestic trips by the end of 2004.

Mrs Juthamas said TAT is projecting more private investment to flow into accommodation, hotels in new tourism destinations like Chiang Rai, Ko Chang, Krabi, etc.

Thailand also received a number of awards in 2004, as follows: Conde Nast Traveller, a leading travel and lifestyle magazine, voted Thailand as the Best Tourism Destination. Thailand also received the Tops in Appeal: DestinAsian’s 2004 Readers Poll by Destin Asian magazine.

The American Airlines Magazine ranked Thailand in the Top 10 Most Pleasant Tourist Destinations and Scandinavian Travel Trade Magazine awarded Thailand the World’s Best Tourist Country.

Lonely Planet placed Thailand as the favourite tourist destination of 2004 for independent travellers. Thailand was also voted the world’s most hospitable country.

Thai Airways International was awarded “Airline of the Year” at the 15th TTG Travel Awards. In the same poll, the Amari Trang was awarded the Best Beach Resort in Asia.

TAT, too, received a number of awards: National Tourism Organisation Par Excellence by TTG Asia and Travel Star of Switzerland. Selling Long Haul Travel Trade of England also gave TAT a similar award.

“These awards clearly indicate the high standing of TAT and the Thai tourism industry on the world stage,” Mrs Juthamas said.

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