The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently concluded a successful road show to the Scandinavian market. In conversation with His Excellency, Jukr Boon-Long, Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Thailand to Norway, the Ambassador elaborated on the importance of Norway as a potential source market of tourism for Thailand, saying that it was certainly a market to be further expanded upon and that TAT should reach out to all cities in Norway to make information on Thailand more accessible.
Undeniably, the Scandinavian tourism market, especially Norway, is seen as being of great importance to Thailand. Both the countries share a relationship that goes back a long way. The Ambassador holds the view that, since there are many Thai ladies married to Norwegian men, Norwegians are in a better position to understand Thailand and appreciate Thai culture. “ There is no doubt that the Norwegian market is important to Thailand and vice versa and I certainly believe this is something that can be expanded on; we (already) see an increase in
Norwegian tourists going to Thailand,” he said. He further stated that, as Norwegians already have an idea of how things are done in Thailand, doing business there does not mean one starts from scratch, as there exists a general understanding.
Responding to a question on how the private sector and TAT could gain more market share for the Kingdom, the Ambassador said that not only was it important to offer interesting and fascinating things to draw people back, but also that TAT needed to reach out to other cities in Norway rather than put so much focus only on Oslo. He said information on travel to Thailand should be accessible in all corners of Norway.
In terms of whether the region has the potential to grow in numbers as well as expenditure for Thailand, Mr Boon-Long said that the foundation was strong and the numbers were already growing, especially as Norwegians enjoyed the welcoming attitude of the Thai people. “Thailand is also a country of great cultural diversity and offers something to do for everyone – for both first time travellers as well as returning visitors. As for business, there is a lot of potential, with the ASEAN Economic Community forming a market of over 600 million
consumers. Considering the country’s strategical position in Southeast Asia, Thailand could serve as a regional HQ, offering the best flight connections throughout Asia and ASEAN,” he emphasised.
The Ambassador further elaborated on the travel plans of Norwegian tourists coming to Thailand, defining that if it was their first time, he would recommend visiting Bangkok and the islands in the south. However, for return visitors, he said he would suggest the north and the north-east, with its different culture and cuisine as also the mountainous areas that offered great trekking and hiking trails, apart from spectacular scenery. For veteran tourists, the Ambassador said the TAT recommended ‘12 Hidden Gems’ should definitely be explored, including destinations such as Lampang, Phetchabun, Ratchaburi, and Chumphon.
Asked if he had any personal message for potential tourists planning to visit Thailand, the Ambassador said that Thailand is a country with a long history, natural beauty, a classical culture, and something to offer everyone in the family. “Thailand has a Thai-ness that warmly welcomes our foreign friends,” he concluded.