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Bangkok, 17 December, 2018 - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is organising sensational "Amazing Thailand Countdown 2019" celebrations in Bangkok and four emerging tourism provinces in each of the four geographical regions.

It is projecting a total turnout of more than three million foreign and domestic visitors with an estimated total expenditure of 17.37 billion Baht over the 29 December 2018 - 1 January 2019 holiday period.

Spectacular fireworks and music and dance performances celebrating Thailand's rich and diverse cultural heritage as well as the importance of travel and tourism to the national economy will be held at the following locations:

- Bangkok: ICONSIAM, the glittering new shopping, entertainment and educational complex on the Chao Phraya River, the River of Kings;
- Northern Region: Clock Tower, Chiang Rai province;
- Northeastern Region: Clock Tower, Nakhon Phanom province;
- Central Region: Clock Tower, Ratchaburi province;
- Southern Region: Pakbara Pier, Satun province.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor (above photo), said: "The Amazing Thailand Countdown is a major event that TAT has consistently organised over the years at various destinations across the country. The purpose is to promote Thailand as the ultimate destination for Thai and overseas tourists alike. It's also an effective way to help stimulate the economy and distribute income to people in every region. More importantly, it supplements our effort to make tourism sustainable.

"This is our annual New Year gift to our foreign guests and the Thai people. I hope it will raise the happiness of everyone across the country."

TAT is estimating that during the peak days of 29 December 2018 - 1 January 2019, Thailand will welcome about 520,000 foreign visitors, generating total revenue of about 7.87 billion Baht. Domestic trips are estimated at 2.71 million, generating about 9.5 billion Baht in expenditure.

The biggest turnout of spectators for the "Amazing Thailand Countdown 2019" will be in Bangkok where the countdown will begin at 18.00 Hrs. on 31 December 2018. This is six hours of back-to-back celebrations and performances based on the theme of "The River of Prosperity" being jointly organised by TAT and ICONSIAM in collaboration with numerous other private and public sector partners.

The highlight will be a magnificent display of fireworks made from Thai sticky rice to ensure minimal environmental impact. The five-minute, five-part fireworks extravaganza will showcase the history of the Chao Phraya River pertaining to the Thai way of life, traditions and legends of Siam. One part will also celebrate Thailand's global status, highlighting the flags of all countries and their linkages with Thailand through tourism, trade, education and cultural exchange.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor (5th from left) and Mr. Narong Chearavanont, Chairman of the ICONSIAM Superlux Residence Corporation (5th from right) and partners in public and private sectors at the press conference to announce the "Amazing Thailand Countdown 2019" in Bangkok.

Mr. Yuthasak said, "We want this to be the longest and grandest display of fireworks ever on the Chao Phraya River. We estimate that more than one million people will watch this display within a 2-km radius of the ICONSIAM location."

The best visibility spots have been identified as follows: Peninsula Hotel, Millennial Hilton Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, Sathorn Bridge, Chaloem Phrakiat Park, Sathon Pier, Police Station 2, Khlong San Pier, Sampheng Parking Lot, CAT-Bang Rak Branch, Wat Suwan Pier, Siam Commercial Bank and LHONG 1919.

The evening will also see a performance of the "Khon" Thai traditional dance in honour of it being listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.

The Countdown will be broadcast live on MCOT, PPTV, True4U, TNN and Thai PBS, from 23:05 Hrs. on 31 December 2018 to 00:20 Hrs. on 1 January 2019.
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TAT welcomes one millionth tourist from Vietnam

[ Tourism News ] Posted by root on 2018/12/13 14:20:00 (125 reads)
Bangkok, 13 December 2018 - The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is delighted to welcome the one millionth tourist arrival from Vietnam, a historic first between the two Southeast Asian countries.

The one millionth Vietnamese tourist, Ms. Duong Thu Trang, landed 13 December, 2018, on board Thai Airways International (THAI)'s flight TG561 from Hanoi, which touched down at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at 12.25 Hrs.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Asia and the South Pacific), said: "This is truly a historic occasion, and TAT is very pleased to welcome the one millionth tourist arrival from Vietnam to Thailand in 2018. For first time Vietnamese travellers, over 90% choose Thailand and for that we are really grateful."

Ms. Duong Thu Trang was welcomed by officials and representatives from TAT, Suvarnabhumi Airport, the Immigration Department and THAI.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing - Asia and the South Pacific, and Ms. Duong Thu Trang, the one millionth Vietnamese tourist.

To mark the occasion, the lucky arrival received special prizes including a Thailand tour package for two, return airfare for two, and gift voucher of 10,000 Baht.

After arrival, Ms. Duong Thu Trang was chauffeured to her accommodation in Bangkok. The transfer from airport was hosted by the TAT Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Office.

Vietnam is one of Thailand's most vibrant short-haul markets. With a population of over 96 million, the country is enjoying an economic boom fuelled by foreign investment from Japan, South Korea, China and Russia in several large industrial sectors. This is combined with the introduction of new low-cost carriers offering increased flight frequencies between Vietnam and Thailand.

In 2017, Thailand welcomed 970,000 visitors from Vietnam generating over 30 billion Baht in tourism-related revenue.

During 2019, the TAT HCMC Office plans to be more proactive in promoting Thailand around the country. It has scheduled marketing initiatives in both key and secondary cities around Vietnam including the capital Hanoi plus emerging destinations like Haiphong, Quang Ninh and surrounding provinces.
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Bangkok, 10 December, 2018 - Embarking upon a quality over quantity approach to future development, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has initiated a number of measures to better balance, manage, and distribute visitor numbers and preserve the quality of tourism destinations.

Minister of Tourism and Sports H.E. Weerasak Kowsurat said, "For many years, we have focussed on the quantity of tourists. It is now time to shift to quality. This does not mean seeing tourism as a "golden goose" for the economy but rather as a means of reducing social disparities and upgrading the quality of life for the Thai people."

In a broad-ranging statement, the Minister noted that Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles. "We are now getting 35 million tourists a year, which is half our population. If these numbers are not better balanced, managed and distributed, neither the guests nor hosts will be smiling."

He noted that transportation improvements were under way nationwide with improved connectivity between the hub and secondary airports and a dual-track railway, which is scheduled to be completed in five years.

The Minister noted that it was important to understand what motivates visitors to choose Thailand. Although nearly all markets are growing, but customer requirements are changing, depending on demographics, time availability and budgets.

"However, what they all want is a good experience, meeting Thai people, visiting local communities and eating Thai food," he said.

The Minister noted that the top priority is safety and security.

A number of measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of visitors in the aftermath of the July 2018 boat accident in Phuket. In order to recoup the number of Chinese visitors, the Ministry has advocated fixing the underlying problem and communicating it strongly to the Chinese market. This means first restoring the confidence of the Chinese tourists.

The second priority is environmental protection, Minister Weerasak said.

This is the first year that the Thai government and Thai tourism private sector are working together in three areas:

1. Ban all smoking on public beaches.

2. No more plastic bags or foam containers to be allowed in national parks, both on land and sea.

3. Tourists are encouraged to use "Pintos" (food containers) while travelling in national parks.

He said the 55 secondary destinations being promoted nationwide have also been divided into different categories; such as, those which receive more than 6 million tourists and less than 6 million tourists.

The Minister added, "This is the first year that we have set limits on tourists visiting some islands. We are also highly grateful to teams of volunteers who are assisting with beach cleaning operations."

He urged tourism investors and businesspeople to "listen to the sound of nature before thinking of money. As long as you can hear the sound of nature, that is enough. We must have the courage to decide when to stop trying to bring in more numbers."

The third priority is facilitation and connectivity, especially to the secondary cities.

To attract Chinese visitors back to Thailand, the visa fees have been waived for the period of 15 November, 2018, to 15 January, 2019.

Some laws also need to be amended, he said. For example, a travel insurance fee could be included in the visa fee. If an accident occurs, insurance should cover the medical expenses. At present, this is covered by Thai taxpayers, which should not be the case.

Various categories of insurance premiums can be created to cover everything from regular driving to risky activities; such as, diving, climbing and rafting.

He added, "I am also seeking Cabinet Resolutions to change some visa regulations. For example, citizens of 38 countries can visit Thailand several times without visas. But if they arrive overland, they can enter only twice a year. Many foreigners live in neighbouring countries close to the Thai border. Therefore, we should have a visa category to accommodate them, similar to those arriving by air."

"Travellers who do not require a visa to enter Thailand by air, should also be able to similarly enter Thailand by land.

"Tourists traveling to the border checkpoints close to the 55 secondary cities come with a single entry visa. I have asked the Cabinet to approve a multiple-entry visa for border-crossings as well as a double-entry visa category with a six-month validity.

"A double entry visa will provide a convenient way for visitors to come for medical treatment, enroll for Thai cooking classes, attend international conferences, or enjoy sporting activities. I have proposed that the visa fee remain unchanged at 1,000 Baht.

*Featured image: A U-shaped skywalk at Pha Tak Suea Temple, Nong Khai, one of the 55 secondary cities.
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Thai tourism sees growth in line with the target

[ Tourism News ] Posted by root on 2018/12/3 14:00:00 (124 reads)
Bangkok, 03 December, 2018 - The Thai tourism industry recorded total international arrivals of 31.25 million in January-October 2018, up 7.84%, generating an estimated 1.63 trillion Baht in tourism revenue, up by 9.98% over the same period of 2017. China headed the list with more than nine million arrivals.

Top 10 markets for Thailand in January - October 2018

Remark: Preliminary figures
Source: Ministry of Tourism and Sports

Summary of the key results in Jan-Oct 2018:

Overview: All regions grew well except the Middle East and Oceania. Visitors from East Asia totalled 21.58 million (+9.71%), Europe 5.24 million (+4.24%), the Americas 1.25 million (+3.01%), South Asia 1.60 million (+10.75%), Oceania 766,119 (-1.74%), Middle East 635,311 (-6.29%), and Africa 158,630 (+8.41%).

East Asia: East Asian visitor arrivals comprised the biggest market share of all visitors. A total of 21.58 million or 69% were from East Asian countries. Apart from China, the other top sources of arrivals were Malaysia (3.17 million), South Korea (1.46 million) and Lao PDR. (1.44 million).

The ASEAN countries in total are generating over 8.24 million arrivals, with the growth by Malaysia (+12.73%), Philippines (+12.33%), Indonesia (+10.94%), Vietnam (+9.46%), Lao PDR. (+4.92%), Cambodia (+4.36%), Singapore (+2.99%), Myanmar (+0.56%), but Brunei (- 4.95%).

Europe: European visitors were up 4.24% to 5.24 million. Russia retained its status as the largest source market from Europe with arrivals of 1.1 million, up 11.75%. The United Kingdom is the second highest source market with a total of 788,333, followed by Germany 695,077, up 3.96%.

Visitors also grew from East Europe (+9.34%), Austria (+12.22%), Netherlands (+6.65%), Finland (+5.99%), Italy (+5.85%), and Denmark (+4.27%).

The Americas: Arrivals from the Americas grew 3.01% to 1.25 million. The main market, USA, increased by 5.61% to 875,485. Arrivals from Canada were up 7.52%.

South Asia: Arrivals from South Asia grew by a strong 10.75% to 1.60 million. India topped the list with arrivals up by 11.23% to 1.28 million. Other countries also showed good growth; such as, Nepal (+25%), Bangladesh (+8.70%), Pakistan (+3.64%), Sri Lanka (+3.39%).

Oceania: Arrivals from Oceania declined by 1.74% to 766,119 visitors. Australian visitors declined by 1.96% to 665,308. Arrivals from New Zealand declined by 0.47% to 97,631.

Middle East: Arrivals from the UAE declined by 7.99% to 109,705. Arrivals from Saudi Arabia declined by 19.64% to 24,695. However, some markets like Kuwait (+2.73%) reported good results.

Africa: Arrivals from Africa grew by 8.41% to 158,630, mainly due to arrivals from South Africa (80,109).

In 2018, TAT has set a target of 36 million arrivals and 1.97 trillion Baht in expenditure, up 3.85% and 8%, respectively over 2017.
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New Delhi, 22 November, 2018 - Thailand's capital city of Bangkok has won the top honour as the Best City - International category in the seventh edition of the India's Best Awards conferred by the leading publication Travel + Leisure India & South Asia at a ceremony on 12 November, 2018.

The award adds to a string of such accolades conferred on Thailand by readers of Travel + Leisure India & South Asia in the annual poll. Thailand was voted the Best Honeymoon Destination (International) in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018, and the Best Wedding Destination in 2011 and 2015, respectively.

Thailand's blissful and spectacular beaches, tropical climate, misty mountains, diverse and fascinating culture, hospitable people, exotic cuisine, and world-class luxury hotels and resorts attract visitors and keep bringing them back, so much that it features among the most popular tourist destinations in South East Asia.

Bangkok truly deserves the award for Best City - International category, says Mr. Isra Stapanaseth, Director TAT New Delhi Office (above photo, right). This year Amazing Thailand welcomed many top Bollywood stars at the 10th IIFA Awards in Bangkok. In addition, Bangkok was named this year's Number One city in the world by Mastercard's 2018 Global Destination Cities Index, the third consecutive year it has been ranked in the top spot.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said, "We thank all the readers of Travel + Leisure India for their confidence and votes for Thailand for many years. We are very proud to be recognised thus.

"Bangkok is known the world over for its superb attractions, outstanding cuisine and gastronomical delights, excellent hospitality, friendly people, exemplary service standards, exceptional shopping outlets. Over the next few years, you will see even more positive changes and improvements in what is known as the "City of Life".

India is one of Thailand top ten sources of visitors, and one of the clubs of countries that generate more than one million visitors a year. In January - September 2018, 1.17 million Indian visitors travelled to Thailand, up by 12% over the same period of 2017, generating an estimated 52.133 billion Baht in tourism revenue, up by 35%. TAT is projecting 1.5 million arrivals from India in 2018.

In 2016, 21.9 million Indians travelled abroad with that figure expected to more than double to about 50 million by 2020. The trip also cultivates Thailand's good image in India as a preferred destination among Indian travellers through first-hand experiences of the participating travel agents and media members.

Indian leisure travellers generally go shopping and sightseeing in Bangkok and Pattaya with an increasing number also heading to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, Chiang Rai, Krabi, Ayutthaya and Ko Chang (Trat). Recent years have also shown a marked rise in the number of Indian film-makers, MICE delegates, wedding parties and honeymooners.
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