The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently launched their campaign for “Visit Amazing Thailand Year 2009” at the Queen Sirikit Convention Hall. Both Steve and myself were invited along as representatives of the Paknam Web Network. I think for the first time, the TAT are now recognizing the role of the Internet in promoting tourism in Thailand. After all, surveys show that more people are using the Internet to research holidays rather than the print media. For this event, the TAT joined forces with THAI Airways and invited over 1,000 delegates from all around the world. These included international media and travel operators.
The previous “mega fam trip” took place back in 2005 in order to show the world that Thai tourism was back in business after the devastating tsunami. The familiarization trip this time was organized to show the media and travel agents that life in Thailand goes on as normal despite the political situation and fighting on the streets. You may think that inviting the international press to arrive on the same day as the worst street clashes in 16 years would be counter productive. However, it clearly showed that the disturbances were very isolated and that most tourists in Bangkok were unaware of what was going on elsewhere in the capital.
During the evening, we were given a multimedia presentation of the Seven Wonders of Amazing Thailand which I will tell you about another day. We then listened to speeches by Mrs. Phonsiri Manoharn, the Governor of TAT, and H.E. Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat, the Minister of Tourism and Sports. They reported on the plans for next year. The Minister said you can “always count on Thai hospitality” which I think is very true. The delegates that I spoke to said that they were very happy with what they had seen and experienced so far on their trip. After the speeches, we were entertained with a spectacular stage show which was followed by a buffet dinner with some fabulous food.
The TAT had arranged 30 different routes around Thailand for the delegates. These included 14 in the Lower and Upper Northeast and 16 in the North and Andaman. THAI paid for the airline tickets and TAT arranged for the hotels. As I have been to the North several times recently, Steve chose the Northern Route and I went on the Northeastern Route. I think we both had a very enjoyable and productive fours day. Everyone was very welcoming at every location that we visited. I would like to thank the TAT for arranging our trip and being such kind hosts. Over the coming weeks, Steve and myself will be posting some articles and pictures from our trip. I will also write about the press conference that I attended in Khorat for “Visit I-San Year 2008-2010”. And I think Steve will report on the one he attended in Chiang Mai. Make sure that you bookmark www.thai-blogs.com as we have a lot to share with you this year.