Thailand is all set to dazzle at the WTM 2015, under the fresh leadership of Khun Yuthasak Supasorn, the new Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT.)
The WTM has often been a popular platform for TAT to entice and engage visitors with. This year, ‘Amazing Thailand’ unveils its new logo which incorporates the appeal and attraction of the Thai Smile, at the fair. There is a prominent London bus ‘wrapping’ displaying the new logo with the slogan of ‘We Make You Smile’ right in front of ExCel. The traditional Kanok pattern of the logo has been re-designed to form a ‘smile’ motif, while the letter ‘A’ in Thailand now represents a pair of smiling eyes and the colour scheme harmonises the image of softness. Visitors to the WTM can get luggage tags screened with their photo and the new logo as a souvenir at the Thai Pavilion, which also offers a free cup of Doi Chang coffee and a brief, complimentary massage.
Although the WTM is unfamiliar hunting grounds for Supasorn, he left no stone unturned in assuring delegates at the networking lunch Thailand hosted at the fair, about the marketing direction his team intends to take for the UK market in particular. “Tourism from the UK has proved to be a bedrock for Thailand, right from the 1970’s and is the second-largest source of visitors for us,” he said.
The governor stated that he has based his vision on the MOVE concept of Marketing and More; Operational Excellence; Value Creation; and Effectiveness. TAT’s London office is going in for aggressive marketing strategies and has just concluded a successful pre-WTM ‘Amazing Thailand Roadshow’ to the Scandinavian cities of Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm from 27-29 October. TAT has also planned to conduct a post-ITB roadshow to Edinburgh and Glasgow, apart from London.
Supasorn also said that his team is focussing their efforts on niche markets such as the luxury traveller, for whom Thailand offers upscale products like beachfront pool villas in Phuket or Koh Samui, yacht cruises in Pattaya, or fine dining as well as luxury department stores in Bangkok. Weddings are another sought-after segment for the kingdom country, which offers the ubiquitous ‘Thainess’ touch in all its hospitality services, be it in Chiang Mai or Phuket. Health and Wellness is also a popular visitor market for Thailand, from private hospitals offering the best of facilities, to meditation sanctuaries, organic spa therapy centres and even, anti-aging care, which has seen remarkable advancements this year. The governor assured delegates that the growing trend of ‘green tourism’ is very much at the forefront of his agenda, including community-based tourism.
Apart from the ever-growing popularity of Thai cuisine, TAT also wants to promote Thai textiles to the world as part of its ‘Discover Thailand’ campaign. A special Thailand Academy has been launched, for which TAT hosted leading fashion designers, fashion design students, bloggers and the media from UK and eight other countries last April. During the WTM 2015, trade visitors to the Thai Pavilion will be able to see a weaving demonstration of ‘Phrae Wa’ cloth from the famous Ban Phon weaving village in Kalasin province, which received the Thailand Tourism Award in 2007 for the ‘Most Outstanding Community-based Tourism.’
The Thai Pavilion is also eager to promote the country’s history and legends under the concept of ‘Discover Amazing Stories.’ One such is the humble but ever-popular street noodles, the ‘Pad Thai.’ TAT has organised what it calls the ‘12 Hidden Gems Plus’ tours; various parts of the country that it has highlighted as worth visiting. “Each province features a fascinating cultural, natural, modern, or even culinary attribute that must be experienced up close,” concluded the governor.
Thailand recently welcomed its 24th million visitor on the 28th October 2015. The TAT projection is for 28.8-million international visitors for this year, generating 1.4-trillion THB (25.5-billion GBP) in revenue. As of Jan-Sep figures, European visitors generated about 271-billion THB (4.9-billion GBP) of which 17% were UK tourists who generated 48.62-billion THB (884-million GBP.) The average UK tourist has a stay of roughly 17-days per person per visit, almost double the 9.83-day average of all visitors and longer than the European average length of stay of 16-days.