The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) organised the ‘Amazing Thailand Roadshow to India 2018’ in Kolkata on August 31 to attract Indian tourists and luxury vacationers to Thailand. The event included B2B sessions between the sellers from Thailand and buyers that included the travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers and wedding planners.
Talking exclusively to India Outbound, Walailak Noypayak, executive director of ASEAN South Asia and South Pacific Region and Isra Stapanaseth, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand, New Delhi, discussed about the new marketing campaign, “Open to the new shades of Thailand”, through which they are planning to promote the less popular destinations in Thailand. They also elaborated on how they are planning to promote their country as a luxury destination, boost adventure tourism, golf tourism and attract the wedding segment.
TAT has attracted a potential number of Indian tourists during the January- April 2018 window. What are your expectations from the coming financial year and how are you planning to attract the niche Indian tourists?
Isra Stapanaseth (IS): In 2018 from January to July, over 900,000 tourists have arrived in the country and compared to this rate of arrivals, we can expect it to be 1,600,000 by the end of this year. It marks an 18 pc rise on the arrival list. Strategically to promote Thailand as the preferred destination, we are trying to increase awareness through different mediums. Our idea is to use the OData Service- a premium app for luxury products, to increase the spending from medium to high end. For the niche travellers, we are focusing on promoting the wedding segment and golf tourism.
What are the new spots and destinations that you are promoting?
IS: New destinations include the east coast of Thailand like Koh Samui ,Chumphon etc. The other destination is Samut Songhkram, which is as a seaside destination. It is in the south of Bangkok and it’s only an hour’s drive. Indians like to play golf and that sector has great potential. We promote our golfing platform which is called Thai Golf Pass. It is an online platform where we work with our service providers, our partners like Cox and Kings and Ethiad.
Walailak Noypayak (WN): Other than the major destinations, we are also going to introduce new beach destinations under the name of Royal Paradise. Not many people in India know about this resort. It’s a royal resort and it has many five-star hotels that targets the luxury market. There are many weddings held there as Indians like the concept of beach weddings.
You have been talking about women travellers going to Thailand a lot more. How do you ensure the safety of women travellers in your country?
WN: See, the national policy is such that we are very concerned about the safety and security of travellers. You will find that we have a tourist police everywhere in Thailand. If you compare with other countries, a lot of women travellers come to Thailand. About 60 pc of the travellers are Indian. So, for the Indians we have to start a new line of services. A lot of girl gangs from India come to Thailand and shoot films to attract other travellers.
After a record number of Indian tourists in your visitor’s arrivals list and the recent expansion of the codeshare agreement with Bangkok airways and Jet airways, what growth in the flight connectivity and frequency can the Indians expect?
IS: Bangkok connects many destinations in Thailand especially with Koh Samui. You can fly directly to historical destinations like Sukhothai, it’s a world heritage site in the northern Thailand. One can also go to the east coast of Thailand, Koh Chang. So it’s very easy to travel now, nobody needs to wait for a flight in Bangkok. We have also very good connecting flights for Indian domestic. The present scenario in PAN India is that it has 45 flights per week. There are now direct flights available from Delhi-Phuket twice a week, and Mumbai-Phuket thrice a week.
What do you have to say about Medical and Wellness tourism?
WN: Recently we had a seminar of health and well-being. We bring a lot of buyers from all over the world. We not only focus on medical tourism, but also on well-being and good health. It is a very good growth segment for Thailand. And we are among the top 10 well-being destinations in the world.