Sawasdee khrap, kia ora ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you all for being with us today, so we can update you on the latest developments in Thai tourism. Thailand has been facing some challenging times recently, and TAT very much appreciates the support our country has received from the travel industry and the media in New Zealand.
Certainly, we count New Zealand as a good friend of Thailand, and TAT chose New Zealand as our priority mission of the new fiscal year, which started this month. Our aim is to strengthen co-operation between TAT and our important business partners in the New Zealand travel industry, as well as key members of the media here. With this in mind, TAT is in New Zealand to offer our commitment in supporting you and working together for our mutual benefit.
As the TAT Governor, I am glad to meet all of you. In 1982, I was in TAT Sydney Office and experienced the most memorable time of my career.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce some executives who are with us today. First, Khun Sopapan Amatadecha, Board of Director of TAT. Next is Khun Numfhon Boonyawat, the new Director of TAT's Sydney office that oversees our New Zealand market. She will work closely with you, and I hope you give her your full support.
Despite the global ups and downs, and our internal political turbulence, the Thai tourism industry has remained quite strong. And we would like our business partners in New Zealand to be updated on the developments of our tourism industry, as we are confident that you will keep on recommending Thailand to your clients.
According to official data, international arrivals in Thailand from January until the end of September, 2010, reached over 11 million. This is 13 percent higher than the same period of 2009. These numbers demonstrate the strength of the Thailand Tourism brand and the high level of confidence travellers worldwide have in Thailand. So with your support, we hope to achieve our target arrivals figure of 14 million for this year.
The "Amazing Thailand" which has been in use as Thailand's Key Brand Communication since the late 1990?s has been well received and remains a powerful and effective theme. In 2011, we are evolving it with the tag line "Always Amazes You". It reinforces the positive emotions visitors enjoy due to the unique charm of "Thai-ness," which includes the hospitality and friendliness of the Thai people and Thailand's unique art and culture which differentiate our Kingdom from other holiday destinations.
This tag line will emphasize that no matter if you have or have not visited Thailand before, we always have plenty of amazing experiences for you to enjoy and whenever you come, you will be amazed every time as if it is like your first time.
The "Always Amazes You" add-on will be used uniformly in all our promotions and advertising in conjunction with a balanced marketing strategy that places emphasis on enhancing our emotional value and preserving our precious ecological assets.
Ladies and gentlemen,
New Zealand is one of the potential markets for Thailand. Allow me to give you some statistics on visitor arrivals from New Zealand. Our analysis is showing some very interesting trends that I think you should be aware of and which we can both build upon.
In January - September 2010, Thailand welcomed more than 65,000 New Zealand visitors, up by 1.5 percent over 2009. A total of 63 percent were repeat visitors, and they stayed an average of 12 days and spent an average of approximately 175 New Zealand dollars per person per day. This contributed about 200 million New Zealand dollars in tourism revenue to the Thai economy.
New Zealand visitors are also becoming increasingly interested in Thai tourism products; such as, spa and wellness, golf, diving, ecotourism, soft-adventure, trekking, mountain climbing, Thai cooking class, wedding and honeymoon.
Many international airports serve as gateways to Thailand in locations including Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, and Samui. The new Airport Rail Link also makes it fast and easy to get from Suvarnabhumi International Airport into central Bangkok in 15 minutes.
On the aviation front, as of October 2010, there are 5 direct weekly flights between Bangkok and Auckland which are operated by code sharing with Thai Airways International and Air New Zealand. New Zealand visitors can also fly to Thailand via Australia.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The reason we are here with you today in Auckland. Because we want to work with you to grow outbound tourist traffic to Thailand. Please allow me to outline how we aim to support you and how you can be a part of the Amazing Thailand team as we move forward.
First of all, as I mentioned earlier, we will strengthen the Thailand brand image through a campaign based on the ?Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You? tagline. It will be incorporated into all of our marketing activities for Thai travel and tourism products. We will deliver Thailand?s key message of this tagline through a comprehensive campaign that uses both on-line and offline media.
We will also persuade Thai people living in New Zealand to help reinforce the Thailand Brand by working with Thai.
Secondly, TAT will take Phuket's popularity in New Zealand to the next level. We are positioning Phuket as the hub for your clients to explore other parts of Thailand. As you are aware, Phuket is a complete destination in itself but don't let the fun stop there. With flight connections to every major destination in the country, there is no reason to end your holiday on the island when all it takes is just another short flight of no more than one hour to Ko Samui, Chiang Mai or Bangkok, or rent a car to visit the beautiful beaches of Krabi and Trang nearby. If you explore these extensions, a whole new world of increasing tour options and sales will open up to you. From visiting quiet beaches to a holiday filled with soft adventure activities, our Sydney office can provide all the information you need.
For people wishing to just stay on the island, we can help you to identify a range of things to see and do, superb golf courses and spas for fun and relaxation, fishing, diving, sailing, and the Phuket International Academy, a new comprehensive holiday resort that promotes spiritual and physical well being.
Thirdly and similar to Phuket and Beyond is Bangkok and Beyond. We will actively promote activities near the capital that you would not think exist just outside the city, including trekking, rafting, cycling and ethnic culture in Kanchanaburi, and Flight of the Gibbon in Pattaya. These activities are ideal for families, the young, and seniors.
Finally, we proudly present a concept we have designed especially for the New Zealand market called Real Life Experiences. TAT will promote eco-adventures and Thai culture holidays through joint marketing and support for "adventure and cultural packages" with tour companies. These Community-Based Tourism initiatives will offer real life experiences focusing on soft adventure, culture, Thai cuisine, and local lifestyles. From mingling with local fishermen at a traditional home stay to learning to cook Thai food like David Thompson, these are activities that will bring your clients closer to the true essence of Thai culture. They are truly memorable and effective CRM tools.
Other more conventional but no less appealing Real Life Experiences are golfing, weddings, honeymoons, and romance. For golfing, new courses are coming up so fast that it's hard to keep track of, though one thing is a constant: All of them offer breathtaking scenery with outstanding services.
And weddings, honeymoons, and romance can be anything your clients would wish for. All major hotels and a large number of boutique resorts now have a dedicated events team that can give our clients a tailor-made programme unlike any other that has come before. TAT can put you in touch with the right supplier to ensure everything is absolutely perfect from the start.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the new segments we would like to push next year, all of which we require your support to make them work.
The first is the Bangkok Stopover Market.
It is a long journey from New Zealand to Europe, so we will encourage New Zealand travellers to break their trip by stopping over in Bangkok for a few days during their flights. Our programmes like "72 Hours in Amazing Thailand" offer itineraries that let short-term visitors sample what Thailand has to offer. With the new airport rail link, visitors can get into the city quickly and easily for some sightseeing or shopping. This is a very good "appetizer" marketing programme, as it will encourage visitors to come back for a "main course" of a longer holiday later.
Then we have the various ethnic groups in New Zealand.
For example, the country's large community of Asian heritage presents an interesting opportunity to develop travel products geared to their needs.
TAT will also explore new market segments for New Zealand. The country?s large Indian community presents an interesting opportunity to develop travel products geared to their roots.
Many travel to India each year to visit friends and relatives. As Thailand is a regional aviation hub, many flights to India stopover in Bangkok, and these travellers can add a few days in Thailand to their travel plans. India is becoming an increasingly important market for Thailand, and we recently held a highly successful Indian wedding ceremony that highlighted the Kingdom as a wonderful place for newlyweds.
Furthermore, I have already mentioned to you the area that we are going to invest in for the next year. As such, I would like you to be a part of this, so TAT will support media, airlines, wholesalers and retail travel agents by strengthening the potential and marketing competition with the following marketing activities.
First, we will help to build and maintain consumer awareness of the Thailand brand through promotional campaigns. TAT will continue with traditional promotional channels including TV commercials, printed collaterals, indoor/outdoor advertising, local travel and trade publications, and public relations programmes that highlight "Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You."
No tourism marketing promotion can ignore the impact of online media and social networking, where TAT is expanding our efforts. For the main TAT and in-market websites, we will introduce two-way communications and add more activities that will engage visitors. TAT will also add value to the in-market websites by developing them into a channel to offer special deals to our business partners, so we can highlight the special packages you offer to customers.
Our websites and others will be used to maximum effect to provide the latest information on Amazing Thailand and Amazing Products. Our aim is to drive the demand for travel to Thailand that will bring more customers in through your door.
The other way in which TAT will support you is through partnerships. We are encouraging joint marketing and advertising with special offers for trade partners. TAT is implementing more focused and targeted online marketing management to update our trade partners with the latest information on travel and tourism products and services. We will tap into new social media channels and digital opportunities to promote market segments.
TAT will also ensure we keep our travel partners and your frontline staff updated with details about new developments, products and services in Thailand, and will continue to broaden our strategic alliances. We will also organize briefings and seminars for tour companies as well as agent and media educational trips.
In addition, in realizing the importance of partnerships, TAT will support airlines and wholesalers to feature more Thailand packages. We will also reach out to the New Zealand public by participating in travel shows and expanding our presence in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me give you an idea of the direction that we will use for the coming year that has taken into consideration the three key dimensions of tourism - the economy, environment, and society - to ensure long-term, sustainable tourism marketing for the future.
We have called this the "balanced strategy", which covers monetary value and emotional value that will strengthen the Thailand Brand with emotional value under the working concept of "Win Their Hearts, Win Their Minds."
We will also balance our market structure to equally emphasize on international and domestic travel. Given that TAT is already highly focused on international tourism, we will encourage greater domestic tourism as a part of life for Thais and Thailand residents.
Also in the case of unforeseen events like economic or political downturns or natural disasters, we will use short-term market recovery initiatives with a "Quick Win" strategy. But we will also build on long term market stability.
The next element is to compensate for arrivals in the traditional peak winter period and low season by promoting Green Tourism products to make Thailand a year-round destination.
The first 50 years of Thai tourism development focused largely on maximizing economic returns for Thailand. The next 50 years will require a focus on minimizing the ecological impact of tourism. This has recently been initiated with the signing of an MOU with key stakeholders in major tourist destinations around Thailand to create sustainable tourism awareness.
Using this balanced strategy and your cooperation, TAT will reach the target of 15.5 million international tourist arrivals in 2011. This represents a nine percent growth and should generate tourism revenue of around 600 billion Baht, or 26.5 billion New Zealand dollars.
Ladies and gentlemen,
What I have presented to you today is an overview of what we have in store for 2011, I believe that Thailand remains a leading destination brand that is highly appealing to New Zealand travellers.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you for joining us here today for your ongoing support for the past half century and look forward to working closely with you for the next 50 years. I am sure that 2011 will be a great year for all of us. And remember "Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You".
Sawasdee khrap and, once again... Kia Ora!THAILAND TOURISM OUTLOOK
"Amazing Thailand Always Amazes You" for the New Zealand Market
October 20, 2010
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