EXECUTIVE SPEECHES TAT Deputy Governor Speech at g meet 2016

Date 29 Feb 2016 17:09
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Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas delivered the speech entitled “Strategies and how various stakeholders can play a part in promoting Thai tourism in the future” on 23 February, 2016, to high-ranking executives of some of the world’s largest and most influential travel companies who attended the ‘g meet 2016’ annual conference organised by GTA, a world leader in the provision of ground travel products and services to the fully independent travel (FIT) industry.

Sawasdee kha and good afternoon,

On behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai tourism industry, it is indeed a great pleasure for me to be here today. Thank you for inviting me to brief you on our marketing and promotional strategies.

I would also like to thank you all for organising this important event here in the Amazing Thailand. We are always happy to see such senior industry leaders from the largest and most influential travel companies in the region getting together.

Certainly, it gives you all an opportunity to personally check out the many new developments and improvements taking place in the Thai tourism industry, as we reinvent ourselves for a new era of growth.

Thailand Tourism Overview during 2015: The Success of the 2015 Discover Thainess Campaign

Last year, our total marketing focus was on the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign. I am happy to report that this campaign has been an outstanding success. In 2015, the Thai tourism industry hit the highest record in our history both in terms of revenue and number of tourist arrivals.

According to the preliminary figures of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand received total tourism revenue of 65 billion USD (2.3 trillion Baht).

Around 42 billion USD (1.44 trillion Baht) came from the international markets, which was up 23 percent with a total of 29.88 million international visitor arrivals, up 20 percent over 2014.

Another indication to prove our success was reported by the MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2015.

It revealed that Bangkok was the top destination in the region ranked by international overnight visitors, overnight stays, and visitors’ expenditure. What’s more, Phuket and Pattaya were also ranked among the top ten destinations in these categories.

The factor contributing to this success consists of the unique core identity of Thainess, which emphasises the priceless treasures of Thailand, gives Thainess its charm, makes us unique as a people, society and culture, and gives us our competitive advantage.

As a part of the ‘Discover Thainess’ campaign, and in line with the strategy to promote greater dissemination of visitors and decongestion of the popular tourist spots, last year TAT introduced 12 Hidden Gems that tourists must not miss – a dozen provinces in various parts of the country that we highlighted as places worth exploring more. They are shown on the screen.

Primarily, this campaign was introduced to encourage domestic tourism. However, some of these 12 destinations could be matched to be promoted in the international markets.

In fact, this project was very successful. Therefore, this year we have added 12 more to make it the 12 Hidden Gems Plus. Each province features a fascinating cultural, natural, modern, or even culinary attribute that must be experienced up close.

We have promoted the Discover Thainess campaign across all our social media networks, websites and marketing outlets. One of the highlights was the intensive coverage via the blogosphere.

Last year, Thailand was proud to host the first Travel Blog Exchange in Asia or TBEX Asia 2015. Hundreds of bloggers came together to network, listen to expert speakers and attend workshops to help them boost their writing, production and business skills.

It turned out to be an extraordinary success for both the hosts and organisers, with a record over 100 million impressions of the event tracked worldwide. More than 650 travel bloggers from 50 countries attended. They also participated in a range of tailor-made tours around the country before and after the event. We took this opportunity to expose some of the world’s most influential travel communicators to experience our Discover Thainess campaign.

Thailand Tourism Plan for 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Thai tourism industry has now entered a new era. Travel and tourism within the Asia-Pacific region is projected to boom big time. As a result, we have made some fundamental changes in the way we position and market ourselves, and in our overall targets.

The TAT’s marketing plan for 2016 will focus on promoting the kingdom as a “Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess.” The wording of the new strategy indicates that we will highlight more on “quality’ as measured by visitor expenditure, average length of stay, and the overall quality of the visitor experience rather than focus on “quantity”, as measured by visitor arrivals.

TAT is aiming at enhancing the image of Thailand for the quality tourist markets by offering ‘Thainess’ as a unique selling proposition.

Therefore, this year we are targeting to increase tourism revenue by 8 percent to approximately 66.5 billion US dollars (2.41 trillion Baht). Among this, around 43 billion US dollars (1.56 trillion Baht) is expected from the international markets.

I believe you may have noticed our new logo of the “Amazing Thailand”, which was just launched last year. Let me explain to you the content behind this logo. Our new logo represents the most well-known characteristic of Thainess – the Smile that also reflects friendship, enjoyment, happiness and hospitality. The letter ‘A’ in the word ‘Thailand’ has been re-designed to look like a pair of smiling eyes, which, when accompanied with the ‘Smile’ symbol, perfectly forms a person’s smiling face. The colour schemes have also been specifically chosen to underpin the image of softness.

In 2016, to focus on the digital media and content marketing, we would like travellers around the world to come and discover various Amazing Stories in Thailand.

In the terms of diversity of tourist attractions, cuisine, culture, and way of life means that each time you return, you will continue to find new angles to narrate your story. Just take, for example, “The Amazing Story of Phat Thai,” our popular street food — there are hidden stories of interest in its history, ingredients, and the way to cook before Pad Thai became a popular recipe worldwide.

Let’s discover how Amazing Phat Thai is!

Ladies and gentlemen,

We realise full well that in order to attract more “quality” tourists, we will need to provide a “quality” tourism product. This means we have to upgrade our tourism management efforts system wide and focussing our marketing efforts more towards niche markets and specific customer segments. These are some of the niche markets we are highlighting:

Luxury Travel:

Thailand has much potential and variety in terms of upscale products and services to accommodate high-end tourists in all dimensions including the stylish boutiques or beachfront pool villas in Phuket or Ko Samui, which offer an unrivalled holiday experience, many fine-dining restaurants guaranteed by global awards as well as numerous high-class department stores with countless brand-name flagship stores.

Luxury Travel: For luxury travel, there are well-equipped yachts in Phuket and Pattaya to accommodate the need of classy island hoppers. We also supported a “Thailand Yacht Show” in Phuket during 11-14 February, 2016, to kick off the super yacht market. Foreign investors have also been invited to build more super yacht marinas.

Another promising area is the cruise market. Thailand welcomes an average of about 100,000 cruise passengers per year, but we are projecting more after the completion of an upgraded cruise ship port in Phuket this year.

Health and Wellness: The art of rejuvenation and healing, from organic spa therapies to traditional Thai massage, is an integral part of Thai culture. Our wellness providers are consistently recognised as among the best in the world.

Recently, the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa on Ko Samui won the Spa of the Year (Southeast Asia and the Pacific) from the Asia Spa Awards 2015 along with the winners in other categories.

Thailand’s private hospitals have internationally certified physicians and specialists in a wide range of fields backed up by state-of-the-art medical facilities. Also, we have seen remarkable advancement in anti-aging care in Thailand.

Wedding and Honeymoon: Thailand has long been one of the world’s most popular destinations for couples celebrating weddings and honeymoons.

With its friendly people, stunning beaches, romantic landscapes and picturesque backdrops, the kingdom is a charming place to “tie the knot” or enjoy a honeymoon and make memories that will last a lifetime. Thailand has been a popular honeymoon destination among newlyweds from Europe, India, Japan, the United States, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Throughout this February, TAT in cooperation with Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Immigration Division have launched the “Amazing Romance in Thailand” to welcome couples who visit the kingdom with photo booths, a fast-track immigration process to special souvenirs and a lucky draw to win various prizes.

Golf: Thailand is one of the world’s leading golfing destinations, with over 250 world-class golf courses. Challenging and exciting courses, staffed by knowledgeable, well-trained and courteous Thai caddies are the reasons for the country being the popular choice of golf enthusiasts.

Community Based Tourism (CBT): The Thai Royal Government has been aware of the important role of local communities to the Thai economy as income distributors. Therefore, TAT will also retain a strong focus on catering to the continuing growing trend for local tourism; such as, a holiday that compliments its environment and the local communities. Rural Thailand offers a chance for visitors to interact with local communities.

Some outstanding communities include Ban Na Ton Chan Community in Sukhothai province, Ko Klang Community in Krabi province, and Ban Nam Chiao Community in Trat province.

Domestic Market

One key policy measure is to better balance our domestic and international tourism sectors. Last year, around 36 per cent of the total income was from the domestic market. This year, we will do more to boost domestic tourism by encouraging Thai people to travel within Thailand. Local tourism destinations will be developed to inject income to the local economy. This is aiming to support the government policy of creating the “Strength from Within.”

ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)

Ladies and gentlemen,

The era of ASEAN integration has started since the end of last year. This will offer many prospects and opportunities to the business community and general public as well as open up huge opportunities for building on our geographical advantage in accessibility, trade and travel in ASEAN to position Thailand as a weekend destination of the region.

Under the concept of “ASEAN for All”, TAT is now introducing a “Two Countries One Destination” package to global travellers. We will emphasise our connectivity with Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR. and Vietnam.

For example, during May 2015, TAT organised the “Mega Joint Familiarisation Trip between Thailand and Myanmar” to bring more than 50 tour operators and media from the European countries to experience first-hand the diversity of products and services in the two ASEAN nations. The route covered Chiang Mai, Mandalay, Bagan, Nay Pyi Taw and Bangkok.

In terms of the “ASEAN for ASEAN” concept, with the advantage of having the kingdom’s borders connect to four other neighbouring countries, we are going to position Thailand as a weekend destination in the region by encouraging the people of those countries options in travelling.

For example, last month TAT organised the “ASEAN Friendship Caravan” to introduced media and travel trade representatives from Asia to the wonderful world of road travel through Thailand-Lao PDR.-Vietnam to Cambodia. The caravan began and ended in Bangkok and went through nine cities and towns of unique historic and heritage of interest including Da Lat, Siem Reap, Buri Ram, and Champasak.

The ASEAN members will benefit from the integration of the ASEAN Economic Community to promote travel throughout the region. Improved accessibility via highways and low-cost airlines will enable tour operators to introduce their clients to many new destinations in ASEAN. I am sure that with the integration of the AEC, we will see “Thailand and ASEAN: Stronger Together”.

Airport Expansion

As visitor arrivals grow, we will need to upgrade our infrastructure facilities. The Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited is expanding its major international airports to keep up with the growing number of passengers.

The expansion at Suvarnabhumi Airport will almost double its annual handling capacity to 60 million passengers per year by 2020.

Furthermore, the expansion of the second passenger terminal at Don Mueang International Airport is due to start full operation in March, and will bring its annual capacity to 30 million.

Moreover, the soft opening of the new terminal of the Phuket International Airport was on 14 February, 2016, which will increase the capacity to more than double its annual capacity to 12.5 million passengers.

You will also be happy to know that an agreement has been signed to further develop the U-tapao-Rayong-Pattaya International Airport for commercial purposes. It locates just 30 kilometres from Rayong’s city centre and around 45 kilometres from Pattaya.

This is line with the government’s “one airport, two missions” directive, under which the navy-operated airport will serve both security and commercial missions. The first phase includes the construction of a new passenger terminal, which is expected to be completed in June 2016 and capable of handling three million passengers a year. 

TTM+ 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year, our leading travel show, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus or TTM+ 2016, will be held at Chiang Mai. It also is the first time we held the event outside Bangkok.

This year’s theme is “Smile with Us.” The event will be held on 8-10 June, 2016, at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

We believe it will go a long way towards raising the profile of the many fascinating new products and destinations in that part of the region. Registration for buyers and sellers is now open. Please visit the official website: www.thailandtravelmartplus.com for more information.

Conclusion

On behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, I thank all of you for joining us here today.

I believe that now you get the whole picture of our marketing direction and see the opportunities to work with us in this coming up future. Our strategies and plans will not be fulfilled without the cooperation from our friends in the tourism industry which including all of you here.

We are all partners united by a common goal of bringing visitors to Thailand and ensuring that they have a pleasant and satisfactory stay with the quality products and services. All of us need to work together, in good times and challenging times. We know we can count on your support in this effort.

Before I leave the floor for today, I would like to show you another video about luxury products of the country. I believe this video will give you a clearer view of Thailand luxury products. I will be more than happy if we can join hands in this range to promote Thailand as a “Quality Leisure Destination”

Sawasdee kha.


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