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Thai Government, Industry Move Vigorously to Revive Tourism
Thai Cultural & Food Festival

Bangkok — The Royal Thai Government and the entire Thai tourism industry have expeditiously actioned several measures to keep visitor flows moving in spite of tough economic times and global fears of swine flu.

The government has approved measures to help local operators promote more domestic travel and international visitor arrivals. These involve financial help, waiver of visa fees, and a range of tactical marketing measures; such as special campaigns, especially via online media.

Mrs Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “There is no doubt that these are challenging times. We are extremely happy to be receiving the maximum possible assistance and cooperation from right across the industry. Everybody realises the importance of travel and tourism to the country’s economy.”

In January – April 2009, visitor arrivals to Thailand totalled 4.7 million, down 14.7 percent compared to the same period last year. While most markets showed varying rates of decline, Thailand saw an increase of almost 11.5 percent in arrivals from the Middle East and a 3.6 percent increase in arrivals from South Asia.

For 2009, TAT initially projected 13.5 million visitor arrivals. However, due to the recent global and local developments, TAT is realigning its arrivals targets and marketing strategies in line with the market circumstances.

Most of the help has been directed at the grassroots of the business community, especially Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.

The Thai Cabinet has given clearance to the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank) to offer loans totalling Bt5 billion to smaller tourism operators.

Of that amount, three billion baht has been allocated to help tourism SMEs who are in debt to the banks. This will help to subsidise the loans given by banks by paying an equivalent of 2 per ent interest for a period of 2 years.

Another two billion baht loan was set up for tourism industry SMEs which are in debt to government-owned financial institutions. This fund will help pay 2 percent for repayment of the loan by SMEs for a period of 2 years.

In addition, the government has allowed the companies to file as an expense the amount paid for seminar fees within the country and the allowance is to be calculated as double of this amount.

It has arranged for soft loans with a low interest rate from government financial agencies with zero percent interest for a fix amount of time followed by a flexible payment return plan.

Banks and financial institutions will be requested to show leniency in their approach toward loans given to hotel and or tour operators who are not financially secure.

For hotels, the government reduced the deposit amount for electricity usage.

The Airports of Thailand (AOT) waived 30 percent of the landing and airport fees for airlines for the period during which Bangkok's two airports were closed until 31 December 2009.

The Thai government has agreed to extend the exemption of the visa fee for tourist visa applications until 4 March 2010. The exemption will apply to all applicants for a visa on arrival at all international airports in Thailand as well as those applying at Thai embassies abroad for stays longer than the period for which they are normally eligible.

Furthermore, visitors are being given a 50 percent discount for entrance fees to national parks, which include historical sites, wildlife reserves, and marine national parks.

A number of tourism marketing measures have also been approved. These include restoring the image of Thailand worldwide by launching special campaigns along with stepped up online marketing.

A “Thailand Talk to the World” project involves making 90-second vignettes to publicise the image and atmosphere of Thai tourism and distributing it to global media like CNN and BCC World.

Some marketing measures feature inviting international media and travel agents to see Thailand and entice them to return with their friends and families as well as to send their clients, readers and viewers to Thailand.

The “Welcome Back” project involves media briefings in major trade shows and arranging a Thailand Road Show in major markets; such as, China, India, Russia, and America. In turn, the “Thailand Real Time” campaign involves organising an online event and mini website to promote Thailand’s image.

The “Partner on Demand” campaign involves working with industry partners to launch special packages, advertise in local media, promote the amazing value card and coupon, encourage overseas Thai residents to visit Thailand, attract seminars and exhibitions, etc.

TAT has stepped up its online marketing presence with a number of websites. One campaign involves the Thailand Super Deal where tourists can find Thailand's best deal packages from hotels, tour operators, airlines, shopping centres, etc.

On 1 June, the “Package Tour for Transfer Passengers” initiative was introduced. Transfer passengers making a stopover of 6 to 12 hours at Suvarnabhumi International Airport can take short tours of Bangkok and the surrounding area.

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has just published a directory of the MICE venues in Thailand. The “Venue Variety” directory promotes business events around Thailand with an “aim to boost awareness and confidence in Thailand as a dynamic business event destination”.

The 174-page directory has information about business facilities in the five geographical areas of Thailand: Bangkok / Pattaya; Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai; Nakhon Ratchasima / Khon Kaen; Cha-am / Hua Hin and Phuket / Krabi / Phangnga.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced that its Bangkok Smile Card project will be launched this August. According to BMA Deputy Governor, Ms. Taya Teepsuvarn, the BMA will introduce a boat pass, add information booths, and designate certain roads as walking streets.

The “Smile Cards” are part of a wider campaign that tags Bangkok as a “City of Smiles”. About 100,000 Smile Cards are to be produced for tourists to pick up at BMA information booths. It will offer discounts for attractions, shopping, dining, night sightseeing, spa, golf, massage as well as medical treatment.

Thai Airways International, the national airline, and Bangkok Airways, the country’s leading privately-owned airline, have introduced special promotional campaigns to boost international and domestic travel within, to and from Thailand.

The Thai Airways campaign, launched on 13 July, 2009, is called “Fly THAI Get More”, a promotional airfare offer valid on THAI’s selected domestic and international routes.

THAI’s offer is valid for return air tickets in Economy Class, at prices starting from 2,810 Baht for domestic destinations and 4,300 Baht for international destinations.

A number of services are being offered without extra charges; such as, up to 40 kg of check-in luggage allowance and lounge access per class of service entitlement. Passengers can make their own seat selections upon reservation.

In turn, Bangkok Airways launched the “Flyer Pass” on 15 July, 2009. According to the airline, it is the first prepaid sets of tickets designed to fulfill different lifestyles for hassle-free and value-for-money travel.

The Flyer Pass is divided into four packs; each consisting of four flight sectors selectable from the card’s designated destinations at prices starting from an all inclusive airfare of 9,000 Baht up to 29,000 Baht. It is available for online booking via www.bangkokair.com/FlyerPass and through Bangkok Airways Call Center 1771.

These measures are all in addition to the extensive packages and promotions being offered by hotels, tour operators and tourism attractions through their own sales and distribution outlets.

Mrs Juthaporn concluded, “There is no doubt that all these campaigns further enhance our umbrella marketing slogan ‘Amazing Thailand Amazing Value’. Whether one is coming to Thailand for a holiday, convention, business meeting, or visiting a friend or relative, our range of products and prices continue to offer unbeatable value.”

She added, “There is no better time to visit Thailand than now.”

Contact information:
International Public Relation Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: prdiv3@tat.or.th
Web site: www.tatnews.org
For the latest updates, please visit
www.TATnews.org




 

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