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Thailand: European Roadshow projected to revive arrivals

More than 500 European travel agencies, airlines and media participated in a major roadshow extravaganza organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand…

More than 500 European travel agencies, airlines and media participated in a major roadshow extravaganza organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in three major European cities as part of worldwide efforts to revive visitor arrivals in the upcoming winter season.

The Road Show Europe 2005 was held in Frankfurt, Paris and London on the 5th, 7th and 9th September, 2005, providing the Thai tourism industry with an opportunity to reassure suppliers that the popular beach destinations and resorts of South Thailand are back in business.

The roadshow was organised by TAT in collaboration with Thai Airways International, Tourism Council of Thailand, Association of Thai Travel Agents, Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association, Thai Hotels Association, Thailand Incentive and Convention Association, and SITE Thailand Chapter.

The European market has long been a major bedrock of Thai tourism. Of the 11,650,703 visitor arrivals in 2004, a total of 2,616,347 arrivals were from Europe, a market share of 22.46% and an increase of 15.96% over 2003.

UK, France and Germany are the most important European markets. In 2004, visitor arrivals from the UK were up by 15.35% to 628,679, from Germany up by 15.74% to 438,238 and from France up 14.49% to 250,995.

However, the European average length of stay, at just under 14 days, is nearly twice the 8.13-day average of total visitors of and well ahead of Asian visitors, which is only 5.4 days.

Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan, Governor of TAT said, We were very pleased with the excellent response to the roadshow and expect to attract record numbers of visitors from Europe this year.

Although arrivals fell in the first few quarter of 2005 in the immediate aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, the European market has begun to show strong signs of a return to normalcy, with a distinct upturn in arrivals at Bangkok International Airport in the second quarter.

TAT is planning to encourage the growth by providing extensive support to European charter operators.

Thomas Cook plans to operate direct charter flights from Europe to Phuket three times weekly, beginning in November, and expects to bring in around 45,000 visitors. Austrian Airlines plans direct flights from Vienna to Phuket, once a week as of November and twice a week as of December.

My Travel, a major travel agent in Scandinavia, is to operate five charter flights a week to Phuket between October 2005 to April 2006. It also plans to cooperate with Britannia Airways, Nova Air and Finnair to send around 100,000 tourists from major cities in Scandinavia to Phuket in the coming winter season.

Another major tour operator, Thompson Holidays, plans four charter flights per week from London during November 2006-March 2007, expected to generate an estimated 15,000 British tourists.

Arrivals from new markets like Russia are also expected to grow strongly with the start of THAI Airways International`s direct flights to Moscow in the winter season of 2005/2006.

The spirits of the Thai tourism industry have been lifted by the country winning a number of prestigious awards, including most recently being voted as the world`s 2nd Best Destination in the Conde Nast Traveller`s Readers` Destination Awards.

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