Mr. Santi Chudintra, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and the South Pacific, delivered the following speech at the Thailand networking session held on 25 October 2017 (during the ITB Asia 2017)
Sawasdee khrap and good evening, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you all for being here today.
I would like to congratulate the ITB Asia for celebrating its tenth anniversary as ‘Asia’s Leading Travel Trade Show’. We are proud to have participated from the very first show in 2008 and are today equally proud to be one of the 60 percent of exhibitors from Asia. The Thailand contingent includes 40 exhibitors in just the Thai pavilion alone with a number of independent pavilions taken up by 36 Thai hotels, one tour operator, and three attractions. Altogether, I would say Thailand has one of the largest representations at the ITB Asia.
While congratulating ITB Asia for its tenth anniversary, the future of the event is dependent on the future of the region in which it is based. We in Thailand expect to be a very positive part of this future, just as we have played an important role in the past.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you are aware, on 13 October, 2016, Thailand lost its beloved monarch, King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. It has been a deeply sad and reflective year for all the Thai people. Tomorrow, the Thai people will bid the King a final farewell at the Royal Cremation. For 70 years, our beloved monarch showered his people with grace, benevolence and wisdom. He will never be forgotten.
May I request you all to stand and join me in observing a minute of silence in the King’s memory.
(After the observance.)
Thank you. Please be seated.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The past 70 years during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej was a source of blessing, inspiration and wisdom. His passing is a loss not just for us, but for the entire world. The Royal Projects are a unique poverty alleviation enterprise initiated by our late beloved monarch.
King Bhumibol will always be revered by the Thai people for his dedication to improving their lives. His concept of self-sufficiency could have the most positive impact. He believed that the economy benefits from balance and moderation, and that any long-term goals must take into account environmental balance. Part of his philosophy was the idea that traditional knowledge and wisdom, built up in local communities over centuries, should be used to address modern problems, enhance sustainability and increase the happiness of the people.
To put into practice some of King Bhumibol’s ideas, communities around Thailand are pursuing sustainable ways of living and trying to preserve ancient farming practices, as well as traditional medicines, foods and handicrafts. Many of these communities welcome tourists, who get to enjoy a unique Thai experience while playing their own part in sustaining the Kingdom’s culture.
The products to be included under the “Unique Thai Local Experiences” will integrate the many Royal Projects. In order to support the ‘Strength from Within’ concept to promote the development of our tourism industry, the philosophy has been adopted to strengthen the local business communities, small and medium sized enterprises at the grassroots of society, as well as enhance stakeholder empowerment between the private and public sectors.The more accessible projects include the Doi Tung Development Project in Chiang Rai; Royal Agricultural Station Ang Khang in Chiang Mai, and the Chang Hua Man Royal Initiative Project in Phetchaburi.These Royal Projects also form part of the 70 Routes in His Majesty’s Footstep, an initiative which has been launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As I mentioned above, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of ASEAN and the twenty-fifth anniversary since the Visit ASEAN Year. Both Thailand and Singapore are members of ASEAN.
The ASEAN market is now one of our best performing. This year, as you are aware, we celebrated a major campaign called Visit ASEAN@50.
Thailand is proud to be hosting the next ASEAN Tourism Forum 2018 in our northern capital city of Chiang Mai during 22-26 January, 2018. This will be our sixth ATF since hosting it first in 1985. It will be the first time we will be hosting it in the city often known as the “Rose of the North” under the theme “ASEAN – Sustainable connectivity, Boundless Prosperity”.
Chiang Mai is the economic, communications, cultural and tourism centre of Northern Thailand. In recent years, it has undergone considerable economic development but still retains its historic heritage. It is also becoming increasingly well-known as a centre of traditional Thai massage, meditation, spas, health and wellness. The accommodation sector is vastly improved with new properties ranging from specialist boutique hotels to health and wellness retreats to deluxe resorts.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you can see, Thailand is well-positioned for this new era of tourism. We are continuing to reinvent ourselves, open new doors, tap new opportunities and make new friends. This is what travel and tourism is all about, and we are proud to be at the head of the game in ASEAN and Asia.
Next, Khun Tanes Petsuwan, our Deputy Governor for Marketing Communication will present and update the Thai tourism situation and marketing campaign for the year 2018.
Thank you very much of your support and attention.