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Friday, 27 February, 2015, 17 : 30 PM [IST]

Thai Tourism Minister launches ‘Discover Thainess’ campaign in India

On her maiden visit to India this week, Her Excellency Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister for Tourism & Sports, Thailand, officially launched the ‘Discover Thainess’ campaign in the market. Organised by the Thai Ministry of Commerce, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) – Mumbai Office and the Royal Thai Consulate General in Mumbai, the Minister’s visit was called ‘Thai Trade Investment and Tourism Roadshow’. The Minister’s visit to India was aimed at lending wings to the new tagline and corresponding strategy in the high-potential/high-delivery Indian market, according to a release.

Underlining the significance of the campaign, Wattanavrangkul said, “Thainess has appeal across segments. For example, history of wellness and a wealth of meditation sanctuaries have potential for leisure travellers as well as those specifically seeking rejuvenation. Muay Thai is popular among youth and is also becoming trendy among women as a fitness regimen. Our gastronomy is world-renowned and goes beyond the street food that most are familiar with. Some more adventurous couples looking for a different style of wedding might want to opt for a Lanna style wedding.” 2015 has been earmarked ‘The Year of Thainess’ by TAT and promotions are underway.

Soraya Homchuen, Director, TAT – Mumbai Office, said, “I am sure that the Minister’s official stamp to the Discover Thainess campaign will add steam to our efforts to promote authentic Thai experiences in India through creative means that we will employ in the months ahead.”

India is one of Thailand’s significant markets, standing at the number one position in South Asia and number six globally. “Our stakeholders say that January and February’s numbers are already looking strong and higher than last year. I think we are on track to achieve over a million arrivals by the end of the year,” she stated. Last year, 946,269 Indian tourists visited Thailand. The target for 2015 is 1,050,000 arrivals from the market. “India is among Thailand’s top markets alongside China, Malaysia, Russia, Japan and Korea all of which contribute a million arrivals to Thailand’s incoming tourist numbers annually,” Wattanavrangkul said.

In order to maintain and increase loyalty from travel agents to notch up tourist numbers, Wattanavrangkul engaged travel agents, trade leaders, and media in dialogue during her visit. Addressing the agents, she said, “I hope you will continue to keep Thailand at the core of ASEAN itineraries, use it as a base for those who want to travel other ASEAN nations. I think that we can work on special packages for women consisting of Thai wellness therapies, Thai Boxing/Muay Thai, beauty treatments, and shopping. I think that we could develop this segment in India, with the number of financially strong/ independent women executives here.”

She added that Thailand could be the host of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants in 2016. “We are in talks with British hosts and there is a strong chance that the next edition will take place in Thailand. I think this will draw attention to the destination’s wealth of fine dining restaurants,” the Minister said.

The cruise infrastructure of Thailand is being upgraded to welcome more  cruises, and efforts are on to receive permission to keep key attractions, at least in Bangkok, open 24/7, informed Wattanavrangkul. “Already the Emerald Buddha for instance welcomes over 20,000 tourists in a single day. We feel keeping attractions open all night will lessen crowds while also allowing for higher footfalls at these attractions,” she added.

Elaborating on the upgradation work in tourist infrastructure in the country, the Minister stated, “A few tourist courts are already in place and we will have 15 by the end of the year. Tourist police have been deployed at most popular locations in Thailand.”
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