TOURIST CONFIDENCE AFTER RECENT INCIDENTS
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has put together a raft of initiatives, including a Situation Monitoring Centre and a We Care Campaign, to ensure the safety of tourists in Thailand and to let people know that the country is still a secure and welcoming destination to visit in the wake of the incidents over the last weekend. A number of special events and festivals are being planned to stimulate future travel and bookings.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “To boost industry and tourist confidence, TAT is putting initiatives in place to ensure that Thailand’s positive image as a safe and welcoming tourist destination remains intact. TAT is also launching a “We Care” initiative, campaigning for the local communities to pull out the stops when it comes to hosting tourists and to encourage everyone working in the field of tourism to wear special White-Yellow Ribbons – symbols of the peace and unity of the nation. We want to show that Thailand and the Thai people genuinely care for the well-being of all tourists. And we want tourists to know that by visiting Thailand, they’ll make memorable travel memories and enjoy experiences that will entice them to return time after time.”
A Situation Monitoring Centre was opened on 12 August, 2016, to ensure officials have the latest information from TAT local and overseas offices in order to measure the possible impact on the industry, and counter the situation accordingly. The Centre is monitoring local and international news, collecting statistics on tourist arrivals, bookings and cancellations as well as data from airline and tourism-related companies.
Based on reports from TAT offices nationwide, the recent incidents have not massively impacted on domestic tourism as people were determined to enjoy the weekend and the delights of the kingdom. As for inbound tourism, while the international media has been reporting extensively on the explosions over the weekend, the news has only had a slight impact on more sensitive markets. There were very few changes to bookings for the present or near future.
To boost travel and revenue for the rest of the year, TAT is seeking cabinet approval for a special long-holiday weekend in September. As Thailand is hosting this year’s World Tourism Day in Bangkok, TAT has sought an approval for the World Tourism Day (27 September, 2016) to be declared a public holiday in Thailand and the Monday prior (26 September), to be an extra day off. A four-day break would encourage travel and spending nationwide while boosting confidence among travellers.
In addition, TAT is planning to organise a number of mega events and special tourism promotional campaigns to attract local and international visitors. The “Jazz Run Cycling Hua Hin Festival” is scheduled for the first week of September, and will comprise a jazz music festival, a food fair, a marathon, and a cycling event. A major golf tournament will also be played on the town’s famous course, featuring Thailand’s lady golf ambassadors, Ms. Pornanong Phatlum and Ms. Ariya Jutanugarn.
Another large-scale event, the “Magnificent Thailand”, will be held in Bangkok, possibly in Lumphini Park, from 1-7 October, 2016, and will comprise a street food festival, a local food fair, city street light decorations, mapping shows, and a shopping street. Also, there will be an “ExpatFest” held at the end of September to showcase unique Thai culture, traditions, cuisine and tourist attractions to the many expatriates in Thailand, to encourage them to travel more domestically and create buzz among their families and friends overseas that Thailand remains a safe and welcoming tourist destination.
TAT has also scheduled to launch a new domestic tourism promotional campaign to encourage Thai people to travel in Thailand’s Southern regions. Called the “Cross Regional Travel Challenge”, the initiative will start on 1 October, 2016, and will promote the pleasures of the tropical South with its beaches, islands and rainforests.
Also making a return will be the popular “Thailand’s Luckiest Visitor” campaign which rewarded each millionth traveller, who entered the country during June to December, 2015. For this year, there will be exciting prizes laid on for the 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 34th millionth visitor to the kingdom.
Mr. Yuthasak concluded, “We believe that all these special measures and initiatives will help stimulate travel during the rest of the year, and allow Thailand to reach the 2016’s revenue target of 2.41 trillion Baht.”