Bangkok, 18 January, 2016 – The role of Thailand as a geographical travel, tourism and transport hub of ASEAN has been further cemented with the success of the second ASEAN Friendship Caravan, a 10-day motorcar convoy through Cambodia, Lao PDR., Vietnam and Thailand.
The 3,400 kilometre journey, organised by Toyota Motors in cooperation with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), was designed to publicise the many cultural and heritage destinations of the four countries that are now becoming increasingly accessible by road.
The full itinerary followed by the road caravan can be found here: http://www.tatnews.org/tat-supports-asean-friendship-caravan-to-mark-the-start-of-aec/
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said, “Thanks to the emergence of the Asian Highway and the support of the immigration and border-control authorities of the Greater Mekong Subregion, roads are set to become the most important source of transport and tourism in the years ahead.
“They will help open up new destinations, facilitate a more balanced distribution of income and jobs and enhance the role of travel and tourism in the rural economies,” he added. “They will complement the accessibility being provided by low-cost airlines, which will bring visitors to the regional airports, while the road network will do the rest.”
Representing the overseas agents, Mr. Manoj Singh Soin, Founder and Director, Viktorianz Travel Co., Ltd, India, said the new roads will allow the new generation of Indian travellers to indulge their passion for off-the-beaten track destinations, especially those with close affinity to Indian heritage and culture.
Representing the international media, Mr. Mohammad Azfar Bin Hashim, Editor of the automotive publication EVO Singapore, said it would allow Singaporeans to enjoy a new driving experience. He said many Singaporeans are already taking advantage of the good highways between Singapore and Thailand to drive up to Bangkok via Malaysia. They will now be able to stretch that trip further into Cambodia, Lao PDR. and Vietnam.
Ms. Jongkolnee Satiraasavanant, Managing Director, Panorama Discovery, said it would open up new opportunities for domestic and intra-ASEAN tourism as Thai people can see more of their own country and take quick cross-border trips to the neighbouring countries.
TAT also gained some valuable feedback from the participants. Mr. Soin noted that it would be important to harmonise the list of nationalities who can enter Thailand via all the different international gateways. He also mentioned the need to improve the connectivity of trans-border telecom networks to facilitate Internet access.
Mr. Azfar cited the need for better availability of halal restaurants for the growing number of Muslim visitors who would come from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
After the farewell party at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Asia and the South Pacific) Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak organised a small get-together to allow Thai ground operators based in the border provinces to network with the foreign travel agent representatives on the trip.
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
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