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Thailand smiles as it extends special welcome to tourists

July 28, 2014 Destination Thailand, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59If you want to feel especially welcome, visit Thailand. Thailand is open for tourism and ready to offer Thai happiness to visitors in the manner that has made it one of the world’s favourite visitor destinations.

That’s the country’s message to the world, proclaimed over the weekend as over 900 travel agents, media, bloggers and celebrities from Australia and many other countries converged on Bangkok after extensive touring of the country. Called “Thailand’s Best Friends Forever Mega Fam Trip” (Thailand’s BFF), the event conveyed a powerful message that the Thai tourism industry is back to normal.

A grand reception and street parade ushered in a promotional round of festivities, the Thailand Happiness Street Festival. Thailand sent out friendly invitations to travellers globally through the symbolic release of thousands of smiley-faced balloons into the skies above Bangkok.Parade 1

Tourism to Thailand has hit a downturn after the country was placed under martial law following the military coup d’état on 22 May 2014. Hoteliers have spoken of concerns among some tourists that their travel insurance coverage might be affected by the coup.

In fact, as participants in Thailand’s BFF noted in their travels around the country, there is little or no evidence of an army presence. You seldom see soldiers; local police keep order, just as they always have. Bangkok and other areas favoured by visitors are back to normal. The insurance aspect has been addressed by Thailand’s new online insurance coverage scheme known as the “Thailand Travel Shield”. See: Thailand acts with online travel insurance scheme

Polls and general conversation among Thais show widespread support for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which is now governing Thailand. The NCPO has thrown itself into tackling corruption, gaining immediate support in that task from most Thais.Parade 2

Deputy chief of the NCPO, Admiral Narong Pipatanasai, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy, oversees Thailand’s tourism industry. He told fam-trip delegates how very important tourism was to Thailand.

Ensuring Thailand remained a safe place for tourists was vital, the admiral said, and it was imperative to build up confidence and provide security for tourism.

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Thailand’s BFF, which was accompanied by a mass release of balloons and bands putting on street concerts, is also helping bring the smiles back to the faces of the Thai people after several months of uncertainty. Tourism is a major employer in Thailand and the number of Thais employed in all facets of the tourist industry has fallen in recent months because of a lull in tourist arrivals and bookings.

Participants in Thailand’s BFF were struck by the strong feeling of their hosts, from hoteliers to ground operators, that tourists were not only welcome, but were needed as never before. So if your clients want to feel especially welcome, Thailand is the country to head for.

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The organisers see Thailand’s BFF as also helping dispel any lingering doubts about the return to normalcy, and restore visitors’ confidence in returning to Thailand for leisure, business and MICE events.

The Thailand Happiness Street Festival saw the primary business and shopping district of downtown Bangkok converted into a giant festival of happiness, joy, fun and Thai smiles over the weekend.

The extravaganza saw the entire Ratchaprasong area come alive with parades, shopping, fashion shows, concerts and culinary delights.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said: “This fam-trip will be a critical component of our recovery programme, especially for the second half of this year, when we have to double our efforts to bring visitors back.

“At our just concluded Marketing Action Plan meetings, we spent a lot of time analysing key trends and then identifying the appropriate fam-trip participants from priority markets which could generate the fastest turnarounds.”

Thawatchai said: “The Festival aims to effectively communicate a feeling that everything is back to normal and that the national atmosphere is back to its usual vibrant, fun-loving self. This will help restore visitors’ confidence and bring them back to the “Land of Smiles”.

Written by Peter Needham

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