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Photos of low tide at Amphawa Floating Market

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin on 2015/7/6 17:40:00 (611 reads)

One of my favourite floating markets in Thailand is Amphawa in Samut Songkhram Province. I have been going there for years. I particularly love staying the night in a homestay and waking up to the sight of monks rowing past early in the morning on their alms round. Most people only go for the riverside market in the late afternoon. But if you stay the night, you get to see the real side of Amphawa that most tourists don't get to see. Which is why I was saddened when I saw these pitures being posted on social media over the weekend.

What these photos seemingly show is a dried up river bed in Amphawa. But, they don't tell the whole story. For a start, even though they were taken recently, they weren't all from this weekend. Yes, the drought up river is bad and they haven't been releasing that much water from the dams so far. But the river level didn't go down this far over the weekend. But, that's not all. This is a tidal river. It normally goes down twice a day. Admittedly not usually as low as in these photos, but after about an hour the water starts to rise again.

This kind of thing is a natural occurrence. It is also an opportunity for local people to give the river a good clean at low tides. Hopefully they are doing just that. I don't have time yet to go down to see for myself, so, if you visit Amphawa this weekend, can you please tweet me some pictures on @RichardBarrow of how high the water goes at high tide. I am told it is almost as high as normal. From what I have heard so far, the low water hasn't really affected tourists. But, it is greatly affecting the business of local vendors who depend so much on visitors. Many of whom are being frightened away by pictures like these.

UPDATE ON 7TH JULY 2015: The following photo was taken today at Amphawa. As you can see, it is indeed a tidal river and it only stays low for a short time before returning to nearly normal level.

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Bangkok, 6 July 2015 - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has finalised its marketing plan for 2016 that will focus on promoting the kingdom as a "Quality Leisure Destination through Thainess."

The plan marks the start of a new era for Thai tourism. The wording of the new strategy indicates an end to decades of focussing on "quantity", as measured by visitor arrivals, and a total shift to "quality" as measured by visitor expenditure, average length of stay, and the overall quality of the visitor experience.

In addition, within the broader context of the upcoming ASEAN integration as well as the national reform process, Minister of Tourism and Sports,
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has called on the entire industry, including both the private and public sectors, to work on the principles of the 3Rs: "Restructure, Rebalance and Reposition."

The theme of this year's meeting was 'Synergy for the Best' because the entire tourism industry will be joining hands to work together to be able to achieve the country's goals. The Minister said, "The government is promoting close collaboration among all stakeholders with transparency, synergy and quick action."

In 2016, we are confident that Thailand will remain in the top 3 ranking in terms of international tourism receipts in the Asian region. The targets for 2016, as measured entirely in revenue earnings, are up by 8% over the projected earnings for 2015, or around 2.3 trillion Baht. Also international and domestic tourism will be both up by 8% over the same period, which is above the growth projections for the overall Thai national economy for 2016.

The theme, along with the targets and marketing strategies were finalised at the TAT's annual marketing plan meeting held in the beach resort of Bang Saen, a rapidly emerging destination about 65 kilometres east of Bangkok. The meeting was attended by more than 400 TAT executives and officers from head office and worldwide.

Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Acting Governor of TAT said, "This plan marks the opening of a new chapter for Thai tourism. It is based on the fact that there is more than adequate accessibility to Thailand via excellent air, road and sea connections, as well as smooth facilitation that allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival access for citizens from 68 countries and territories.

"As Thailand has the natural geographical advantage of being located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN regions, we can be sure of strong arrival figures for years to come, assuming that the external and internal operating environment remains stable. So, we can confidently say that the era of promoting 'quantity' is over. The era of promoting 'quality' has begun."

In her speech to the delegates, Tourism Minister H.E. Kobkarn highlighted the importance of the Thai tourism industry for economic development, job creation, and income distribution.

But, she added, tourism is more than just that. "It can also play a major role in enhancing social integration and preserving the environment. Tourism can be a great tool to build love and understanding, and grow the sense of pride in being Thai. This will lead to a balanced development covering the economic, social and environmental aspects of nation building."

She said that the new policy to develop a sustainable and well-integrated tourism industry would require close cooperation with the public and private sectors and focus on the 3 R's:

Repositioning: Gearing towards tourism quality (Quality Leisure Destination).
Restructure: Identifying new target markets both in terms of geography and customer segments.
Rebalance: Attaining a balance between economic, social and environmental development by better spreading the benefits of tourism across Thai society, and reducing the social, cultural and environmental impact.
"Such policies must take immediate effect," the Minister said, urging all the stakeholders to work towards achieving the goals in a unified manner.

The 2016 marketing strategy will retain the Amazing Thailand branding logo as well as the "Thainess" identity; concentrate on niche markets; such as, golfers, weddings and honeymoons, health and wellness visitors and 'halal tourism' for Muslim visitors, focus on female travellers, and put balanced emphasis on growing the domestic market to prevent over exposure to the international markets.

The onset of the ASEAN integrated community will play an important role. While regional integration mechanisms will help the 10 member countries better position the region as a single destination in line with the plan to build ASEAN connectivity in order to promote both ASEAN for ASEAN, and ASEAN for ALL.

Mrs. Juthaporn said, "The insertion of the word 'quality' into the theme is designed to help the entire Thai tourism industry follow suit by developing quality products and services to cater to this market. There has already been a remarkable improvement in our portfolio of quality tourism products over the years, and we expect this trend to continue in the years ahead.

Contact Information
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
Facebook: TAT Newsroom
Twitter: TAT Newsroom

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Hat Yai, 5 July, 2015 - The Thai tourism industry welcomed its 15th million visitor this year. Ms. Rozita Binti Namyan, from Malaysia, who is another Thailand's Luckiest Visitor, arrived at Hat Yai International Airport today (5 July, 2015). The activity is being organised as part of a campaign to welcome every millionth visitor to Thailand.

An elaborate welcome was prepared by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thai Airways International Public Co., Ltd., the Immigration Bureau, the Airports of Thailand Public Co., Ltd., and True Corporation Public Co., Ltd.

The lucky visitor was pleasantly surprised to receive two economy-class return air tickets from his/her international port of origin to Thailand along with a five-night accommodation voucher, as well as other prizes from TAT's project partners. The trips will have a validity period of one year.

It is designed to support the "2015 Discover Thainess" umbrella campaign, which aims to highlight the endless charm of Thailand, the diversity of destinations, full flavours of Thai cuisine, fascinating uniqueness of the traditions and culture, as well as the friendliness of its people.

Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT's Acting Governor said, "The Thai tourism industry is making a strong comeback this year, thanks to the confidence and support of all our visitors. Rewarding the millionth visitor is just a small way of showing our thanks and letting the world know that we value all our guests. We are looking forward to welcoming
many more visitors, both first-time and repeaters, to enjoy a vacation in Thailand."

According to the preliminary figures released by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand welcomed a total of 14.01 million between January to 21 June, 2015, a 27.39 percent

increase over the same period in 2014. This generated tourism income of 663 billion Baht a 27.86 percent growth over the same period of last year. TAT is projecting 28.8 million visitors in 2015.

Contact Information
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
Facebook: TAT Newsroom
Twitter: TAT Newsroom
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Free Museum Bus in Bangkok

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin on 2015/7/3 17:10:00 (493 reads)

To encourage people to visit museums more in Bangkok, a new bus service has been launched on Rattanakosin island. This is free to use from 4th July to September every Saturday and Sunday. The first bus leaves Bangkok City Hall at 10 a.m. and then every 20 minutes until 6 p.m. This service is free. For more information, call 02-280-3413 Ext 105-106.

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Thailand Launches Smartphone App for Muslims

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin on 2015/7/2 16:30:00 (467 reads)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched its first App designed specifically for the growing number of Muslim visitors to find their way around the country. The App for iOS and Android is both an online and offline guidebook that will help Muslim visitors find mosques, halal restaurants and hotels, shopping centres with prayer rooms, and other facilities of cultural importance to Muslim travellers.

Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Acting Governor, TAT, said, "We are especially happy to launch this App in the holy month of Ramadan. We hope it will be useful to the many Muslim visitors from Indonesia and Malaysia who may chose to visit Thailand during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr (Hari Raya) holidays at the end of the month." She noted that Thailand is already the top destination for Middle East travellers in Asia. Amongst the non-Muslim countries, Thailand is ranked second in the world by the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015.

Mrs Juthaporn said, "We believe this is because we have the required range of products and services for Muslim travellers. We are already seeing many of our shopping complexes providing facilities for Muslim prayers. Halal food is also becoming commonplace. We are also seeing increasing investor interest in developing halal-tourism hotels. All this is good for us because it will create jobs for our emerging younger generation and promote national inclusiveness and integration."

TAT has also produced a number of guidebooks and brochures to help Muslim visitors; such as, "Halal Check-in Thailand (which contains a list of halal-certified restaurants) and Islamic Attractions in Southernmost Provinces (Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani).

The app can be downloaded here:

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