Berlin, 8 March, 2019 – Thailand Networking Lunch at the ITB Berlin 2019, hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), takes place on Friday, 8 March, with a focus on ‘Responsible Tourism’ and ‘Tourism for All’.
H.E. Weerasak Kowsurat, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said the direction of Thailand’s tourism industry in 2019 would be focussed on the promotion of ‘Responsible Tourism’, which formed another shade of Thai tourism in line with the ongoing marketing communications concept of ‘Amazing Thailand: Open to the New Shades.’
He said this year’s Thailand Networking Lunch was aimed at promoting responsible tourism projects and environmental initiatives initiated by TAT along with both the public and private sectors.
“At this networking event, as well as at the Thai Pavilion at the ITB Berlin 2019, Thailand is highlighting potential products from emerging destinations that focus on responsible tourism with an aim to ensure sustainability and preserve they own local identity,” the Minister added.
These 10 provinces can be conveniently accessed as add-ons to major destinations like Chiang Mai and Bangkok. They are Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Sukhothai, Nan, Trat, Chanthaburi, Chumphon, Ranong, Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Each offers interesting attractions, unique gastronomic delights and local ways of life for visitors to experience.
“These aim to minimise the impact of ‘over-tourism’, better spread tourism flow and benefits, and raise environmental consciousness across the entire industry through several responsible tourism initiatives that TAT has been initiating under partnerships with relevant stakeholders,” the Minister said.
They include the ‘Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand’, and the ‘Travel Thailand in Style, Reduce Plastic Waste’. Also, since November 2017, a smoking ban has been in place at many Thai beaches, while national parks and zoos nationwide now ban plastic bags and other single-use plastics.
To instil environmental consciousness, participants will receive a souvenir pair of Tlejourn flip-flops made in Pattani province from recycled ocean debris. These are a product of the collaboration between Trash Hero volunteers, polymer scientists of the Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus, designer brands and the people of Pattani.
In addition to responsible tourism, ‘Tourism for All’ is being embraced in Thailand and highlighted in the function.
The Minister said, “Last year saw a group of wheelchair travellers from Europe visit Asia’s first underwater museum in Phang Nga province. We are seeing a growing number of visitors in this segment and are improving the facilities to cater to them.”
TAT’s Thailand Networking Lunch was attended by 37 European tour operators and 14 members of the media. The event also welcomed two guest speakers, Mr. Steffen Noll, CEO of Reisen Erleben, who has been operating Handicap World Travel, offering recommendations on tourists with the physical challenges segment for Thailand, and Ms. Maren Fischer, a Youtuber from website Urlaubsguru, sharing experiences in the emerging tourism destination of Chumphon.
In 2018, European visitors to Thailand increased 3.86% to 6.76 million, generating an estimated 13 billion Euros. Russia remained the largest source market with arrivals of 1.47 million, followed next by the United Kingdom (987,456 arrivals), Germany (889,777) and France (749,643). For 2019, the revenue of the Europe market is expected to grow further to 11.53 percent.