Milan, Italy, 23 July 2015 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, launched a marketing partnership designed to attract more visitors to Thailand. Under the new agreement, the Abu Dhabi-based airline and TAT will jointly promote travel to Thailand from priority markets including the United Arab Emirates, UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, Iran and Kuwait.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by TAT’s Acting Governor, Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, and Etihad Airways, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Mr. Shane O’Hare, at the Etihad Pavilion, Expo Milano 2015 in Milan, Italy on 22 July, 2015. It was witnessed by Minister of Tourism and Sports, H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
It was one of the highlights of a “Thailand Week” exhibition to be held at the Etihad Pavilion organised by the airline, especially to promote Thailand. Throughout the event, visitors would enjoy a number of Thai cultural performances, demonstrations of Thai handicraft-making, umbrella painting and Thai cooking.
The Thailand Week at the Etihad Pavilion complemented the independent Thailand Pavilion at the Expo Milano 2015 under the theme “Nourishing and Delighting the World”. The imposing Thai Pavilion focuses on Thai cuisine and its important role in forging the identity and spirit of the Thai people. One entire section had been devoted to “Sustainability, the balance of life”, which describes the Sufficiency Economy principles of His Majesty the King in his ongoing efforts to support farmers across Thailand.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Kobkarn said, “The Thailand Week at the Etihad Pavilion represents a truly unique cooperative partnership between one of the world’s fastest growing airlines and one of the world’s most popular destinations. I would like to thank the executives and senior management team of Etihad Airways for their cooperation and support”.
Mrs. Juthaporn added, “Europe has long been a prime market for Thailand. We have also seen an increase in visitors from the Middle East and Africa. The new partnership with Etihad Airways will be a great benefit to both parties – to Thailand in terms of increased visitor numbers and to Etihad Airways in terms of promoting its international network.”
Mr O’Hare said, “Etihad Airways has a long and proud association with Thailand – in fact Bangkok was one of our first international routes. It continues to be one of the busiest in our network enjoying strong year-round demand, particularly from the UAE, GCC, Middle East, Africa and Europe.
After the signing ceremony, the Thailand products briefing was held by the TAT Executive Director of Europe, Africa, and Middle East region, Mr. Tanes Petsuwan. The function was attended by key officials from Etihad Airways, top-tier industry professionals, members of media, and TAT directors from offices in Dubai, London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Rome.
In 2015, TAT has set a target of 28 million international visitors generating an estimated around 36 billion Euros (1.35 trillion Baht) in tourism revenue for the international market.
Thailand remains a popular destination amongst many Arab travellers, as it has been ranked second as a Muslim-friendly tourist destination for the non-Muslim countries in the world by the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015. The recent launch of an app, “Thailand Muslim Friendly Destination” has strengthened Thailand’s ability to cater to Muslim travellers by providing Arabic speaking staff, halal food options, prayer facilities in many public areas, and Muslim-friendly, restaurants and tourist attractions nationwide.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has in more than ten years established itself as one of the world’s leading airlines, with 111 existing and announced passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas”. Etihad Airways launched its Bangkok route with daily flights in April 2004. It added a second daily service in June 2006, a third daily flight in April 2012, and a fourth on 1 July 2015. The airline added Phuket to its Thai network in October 2014.
The Expo Milano opened on 1 May 2015, and will end on 31 October. It represents six months of performances, meetings, conferences and gatherings on a site that is entirely dedicated to this extraordinary event. For further information on the Expo Milano 2015, please check out http://en.expo2015.org
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