Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand, delivered the following speech at the Opening Reception of TAT Toronto Office on Monday, 23 April, 2018, 18.30-21.30 Hrs.
Good evening and sawasdee khrap,
Your Excellency, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand in Canada,
Chairman of the TAT Board of Directors,
Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand,
Distinguished guests, members of the media, friends from the tourism industry, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my pleasure to be with all of you here. Thank you for being with us tonight.
It is the approximate distance between Canada and Thailand. Very far, indeed, but distance is not a matter. Despite the distance, we have seen a great number of Canadian visitors travelling to our country, and this keeps growing. This is the reason why we are all here tonight to thank you all for supporting us and shortening that distance, especially when we have now opened our office here.
Thailand Tourism Situation in 2017-2018
In 2017, Thailand welcomed 35 million visitors generating a total income of 69.6 billion Canadian Dollars, which represented a growth of eight percent in revenue. It is a tribute to the diversity of our tourism offerings and Thai local experiences.
During 2018, TAT will continue to promote sustainable development with the community as the best practice. We believe this will pave the way for Thailand to be a preferred destination and “Quality Leisure Destination” to international visitors.
At the end of this year, we aim to see the total revenue rise by eight percent over last year.
Canada Market Situation
Although Thailand is a long-haul destination for Canadians, we have seen a positive sign from this market. From 2013-2017, the amount of revenue has expanded by six percent on average in five years.
In 2017, over 258,000 Canadian travellers contributed to the income of 845.9 million Canadian Dollars, representing a growth of 7.61 percent. This year, we project the revenue to grow by 8.46 percent over last year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Do you know how long Canadians averagely spend on their trip in Thailand? The answer is 18 days according to the figure in 2016. This number doubles the average of all nationalities. One of the countries that have the longest stay in Thailand.
Our strategy for the Canadian market is to source first-time visitors as well as the major segments including Baby boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y. Their main interests are seeking for unique experiences about culture, beach, and Thai food.
With a new communication concept “Open to the New Shades” under the brand ‘Amazing Thailand,’ we are certain that it will respond to the need of these markets who like to expand their experiences and share those moments with others.
So…, what is “Open to the New Shades”?
Ladies and gentlemen,
The new “Open to the New Shades” will appeal to all travellers, offering opportunities for each traveller regardless of their interest or age, to expand their experiences in Thailand for an unforgettable journey.
The key word is ‘OPEN.’ It expresses that Thailand is now ‘OPEN’ or welcomes every visitor to our country while we are asking the travellers themselves to ‘OPEN’ their minds and hearts to their journey in Thailand. Another word is ‘Shades’, which refer to the diversity or millions of experiences that awaits for them to discover.
I have to say that the strength of Thailand is diversity, so “Open to the New Shades” reflects this strength and uncovers a new perception of attractions in Thailand. The communication concept will introduce brand-new products to visitors or reveal a new charming character of well-known destinations through creativity. It is aimed at attracting more repeat visitors to seek the ‘shade’ unexplored and also first-time visitors. Also, we still maintain the significance on the Thai people because those memorable experiences cannot be created without their ‘hospitality’.
Moreover, ‘Open to the New Shades’ is an idea that is open to travellers’ imagination. They can ‘mix and match’ the diverse choices of our products to personalise their trip. In other words, travellers can create their own shades like no others.
We would like to introduce the potential products under these five main ‘New Shades’ categories that will be fine-tuned with the Canada market as follows:
- ‘Eating Thai food’ is the number one hit for Canadians. And I can guarantee that Thailand will never ever disappoint you about ‘food experiences’ from joining a food tour to a cooking class. I would also say that a food tour in Bangkok and Chiang Mai is a must for keen foodies. Recently, we have just launched our first Michelin Guide Book Bangkok. It will be a useful navigator for ‘best eats’ in our capital.
Nature and Beach:
- A beach holiday is also best-loved by Canadian travellers. Phuket, Krabi, and Ko Samui have become well-known destinations. So, we would like to recommend the nearby choices that are less-crowded and take only a few hours from the major destinations. For example, combine your visit to Khao Lak and Ko Yao Noi from Phuket or Ko Lanta with Krabi.
- A variety of activities are offered for soft adventurers; such as, diving and rock-climbing. Besides, our beach destinations here can make a honeymoon memorable due to the wide array of boutique villas and natural wonders.
- A journey to a new culture elsewhere could not ever be fun like here since Thailand has so much diverse culture in different parts of the country. In the North, travellers can explore traces of the Lanna culture in the old city of Chiang Mai: temples, way of life and food. Going down South, a walking tour in the Phuket Old Town to sightsee the Sino- Portuguese architecture along the streets is worth taking.
Art and Craft:
- Muay Thai is another form of Thai art that is thrilling and unique. More than just a martial art, it is a legacy that has been passed down over hundreds of years. Travellers can take training sessions that are offered by many hotels and gyms countrywide. But if you prefer to do artwork, come and learn how to do umbrella-painting and paper-making in Chiang Mai. If you only wish to see exquisite art, Wat Rong Khun also known as the White Temple will never fail you.
Way of Life:
- Even in the capital, you can easily get to see the simple way of life along the river through a canal tour in Klong Bangkok Noi and Klong Bangkok Yai. Also, waking up one early morning and giving alms to the monks is an easy way to engage in the way of Thai life.
For the upcoming event in 2018, I am delighted to tell you that Thailand with a support from Tourism Authority of Thailand will host the concert performed by the globally renowned Canadian singer, ‘Celine Dion Live 2018 in Bangkok’ on 23 July, 2018. And this is very special because it is the first time for her to perform in Thailand. We are very welcome to provide you a complimentary ticket if you wish to attend the concert in Bangkok. Please feel free to contact the TAT Toronto Office.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In a way to communicate the ‘Open to the New Shades’ to the world, we chose to use the song as a gimmick to describe the uniqueness and diversity of Thailand to my dear travellers. “Music” is a “universal language”, which is able to cross cultural barriers and connect people regardless of nationality, gender or age in an amazing way. So, we would like to ask you let your imagination flow with the melody that tells the diverse rhythms of Thailand, presented by Khun Koh Mr. Saxman and his band ‘The Sound of Siam.’ Tonight is very special because it is the first time for the full band’s performance overseas.
The first song is ‘Bangkok Met.’ It reflects the ambience of this metropolis, another capital of melting pots and where modern blends with the classic. Bangkok won first place in the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017. Now, it is time to move to the sound and sight of this capital.
We know that Canadian travellers are avid island hoppers. Thailand boasts 936 islands scattered in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Although ‘Krabi’ is ranked the second province with the most islands in the country, it is a hidden gem worth discovering and praised as the ‘Emerald of the Andaman’. And let me invite you to meet ‘Mr. Krabi.’
Being once the heart of the Lanna civilisation, Chiang Mai is enriched with the Northern culture and still retains its charm to explore including splendid temples, way of life and people. In particular, Lanna music is very unique. To me, this melody always takes me back to my visit in Chiang Mai. Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy every essence of Lanna in the ‘Lanna Sonata.’
As it says, ‘Last but not least’, we cannot leave the floor without this song, which is about our latest communication concept and capture the varieties of travelling experiences that Thailand has to offer. Tonight, we are so honoured to have the Canadian artists to join with us including Ms. Liberty Silver, a Juno prize award singer for R&B, Mr. Aaron Elvy, a rising star from the Canadian Idol, and Mr. Enrico Galante, a renowned Canadian saxophonist.
Finally, no matter what you are, Thailand is ‘open’ to you. And I hope that every moment you share with us here tonight will lead you to meet us again in Amazing Thailand.