Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, delivered the following speech at the Thailand Networking Dinner on 25 April, 2017, which was held as part of Thailand’s participation in the Arabian Travel Mart 2017 in Dubai.
Your Excellency, Ambassador of the Royal Thai Embassy in Abu Dhabi,
Sawasdeekhrap, as-salam Alai Kum (อัส–สลาม–อาลัย–กุม), good afternoon,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai tourism industry, I would like to thank you all for joining us today. This year, the Arabian Travel Mart is marking its twenty-fourth anniversary. Thailand has been exhibiting here for 18 of those 24 years, and benefitted enormously from the business, networking and knowledge that this mart produces. This year the Thai contingent includes 53 exhibitors from hotels, travel agents, medical service institutes, tourism operators from Pattaya, and tourism-related agencies.
At the Thai pavilion, visitors will be able to enjoy a demonstration of unique Thai Benjarong ceramics decoration and Khon Mask painting from Samut Songkhram province, as well as English and Arabic speaking officers providing Thai tourism information.
Today, I will update you with a roundup of the Thai tourism situation of what we are going to offer to Middle East visitors this year.
Overall marketing situation and the Middle East market
In 2016, the Thai tourism industry reported a record breaking performance both in terms of revenue and number of tourist arrivals. Our international visitor arrivals total of 32 million was an increase of nine percent over 2015 that generated tourism revenue around 42 billion US Dollars, an increase of 12 percent. We hope to reach our goal in 2017 of 52 billion USD in international tourism receipts.
The Middle East and Gulf Cooperation Council countries are very important sources of visitor arrivals to Thailand. In 2016, we attracted more than 671,000 (671,202) visitors from the Middle East region. The UAE is now the top source market with almost 177,000 (177,700) visitors. Kuwait is the second largest source market, followed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
One of the things we are most proud of is that Thailand enjoys enormous popularity as a destination for Gulf airlines – specifically Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. There are 125 flights to Bangkok weekly from this region.Also, these same airlines have added other points in Thailand; such as, Phuket with 21 flights per week, and Qatar Airways is now operating four flights a week to Krabi and plans to operate flights to Chiang Mai later this year.
We are working to make these partnerships mutually beneficial.We have signed a marketing agreement with Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways and will be working closely with them to jointly promote travel to Thailand.
We are aware that in today’s travel industry, more and more people are looking for real and authentic stories, so we are going to offer “Unique Thai Local Experiences” to the world. Travellers want to venture into authentic experiencesby yearning for the value of the story behind the journey and searching for more self-engagement to the spirit of community by interacting with the locals. Therefore, this year we will deliver an innovative and cultural mix to tourists while inviting them to discover their Amazing Stories in Amazing Thailand.
“The LINK” campaign for the Middle East – Samut Songkhram:
One of our innovative marketing strategies is The LINK that focuses on integration among Thai tourism stakeholders. Initiated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the LINK is aimed to attract international visitors and enhance the distribution of tourism income to local communities. The ‘LINK’ stands for L- Local Experiences, I – Innovation, N-Networking, and K-Keeping Character. It introduces a new and extraordinary experience for visitors that can be discovered in Thailand.
For the Middle East market, we would like to introduce Samut Songkhram province. Just 65 kilometres from Bangkok, Middle East travellers can experience the local way of life adding to the well-being or medical services they can take advantage of in the capital. They can experience the vivacity of Thai floating markets, which will give them options to enjoy shopping from morning till night. SamutSongkram is also home to many orchards and farms where visitors can spend time enjoying the rural greenery and canals as well as delicious fresh fruit grown and harvested there.
Wedding and Honeymoon:
We would like to emphasise the enormous potential of celebrating “weddings and honeymoons” in Thailand.
Thailand has extensive experience to cater to this highly specialised niche market with many award-winning wedding planners, hotels and suppliers ready to organise events according to various themes and concepts. Honeymooners can choose from a range of luxury hotels nationwide with secluded privacy and spectacular views.
All in all, I am proud to say that we are doing very well out of the Middle East market. For this, I would like to thank all our friends and supporters for their help, advice and guidance. And a special thanks to you all once more for your time today.
Thank you for being with us and sawasdeekhrap.