Thai tour operators see rise in bespoke tour experiences

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Chiang Mai, 26 January, 2018 – Leading Thai tour operators Destination Asia Thailand and Diethelm Travel are reporting an increased inbound demand for bespoke experienced-based tours driven by Thai cuisine, Tuk-Tuks, ethical tourism and FIT deluxe itineraries.

ATF 2018 Addie P Hirunkate

According to Mrs. Addie Hirunkate (above), Managing Director of Destination Asia, most customers are repeat visitors or millennials looking to experience based itineraries that shy away from mass tourism.

Mrs. Hirunkate said new business is driven by the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) marketing focus on Thai gastronomy tourism.

Gastronomy tourism or food tours are growing in popularity, we are combining an evening of fine dining with Tuk-Tuks. There is also an increased demand for high-end FIT experiences that are organised as home private dining events, or held in small restaurants with one-time menus for 10 people or less.”

The company is also seeing a rise in community based ethical tourism that is both sustainable and animal friendly. Destination Asia is a member of Travelife, an international certification scheme that helps hotels and tour operators manage and improve their social and environmental performance.

Visits to elephant sanctuaries are in vogue and riding is out. “Guests want to see elephants in an environment that resembles their natural habitat. They want to interact with the animals as much as possible where they can wash and feed them in a relaxed atmosphere,” Ms. Hirunkate, added.

Destination Asia Thailand is also seeing a surge in bicycle tours with itineraries in Pak Kred and Bang Krachao being two of the most popular destinations in the greater Bangkok metropolitan area.

ATF 2018 - Diethelm Travel Victor Mogilev

Mr. Victor Mogilev (above), Group Director of Sales, Diethelm Travel Group, said that clients were turning their attention to experience based tours in central and northern Thailand rather than just going straight to the beach

Diethelm Travel was the first Thai operator to offer self-drive Tuk-Tuk tours around northern Thailand in July 2017, putting travellers in the driver’s seat to explore the region. The trips are fully insured and meeting Diethelm’s high standards for quality and safety. Participants must bring along their driving license from home and then explore the rural outskirts of Chiang Mai, bathe with local elephants, savour a traditional Thai lunch, float down a river on a bamboo raft, and drive around some more as they discover northern Thailand the way few foreigners ever have.

One exceptional tour based in southern Thailand is a Thai cooking experience at the Mina family home on Ko Yao Yai. This private tour is limited to five or six people (usually one family) who are warmly welcomed into the Mina family home for a true Thai local culinary experience. Participants shop local markets before cooking up home style dishes just like Momma Mina makes daily. Then everyone sits down and dines on their culinary creations with the Mina family.

“The emphasis is interaction with local Thai communities, so visitors can gain an in depth knowledge and learn first-hand about Thai gastronomy, culture and way of life,” Mr. Mogilev, said.