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Bring tourism back to Thailand! Let’s go “outside the box

Bring tourism back to Thailand! Let’s go “outside the box”

Dear Chiangmai Mail,

Would you please consider using this in your mailbag section? This is an open letter to TAT’s governor Jutamas Siriwan.

Dear Khun Jutamas,

Please allow me to try one more time to make contact with you since I read with regret about the remarks you made about TAT’s plans for December 26, 2005, when you were asked at the opening TTM press conference yesterday.

I understand that you said, “We are planning some events but not too much,” and “It is not in our plans to emphasize the sad events in the South.” It makes me sad to see how your organization still doesn’t seem to “get it”. It is BBC and CNN that will emphasize it!

This open letter is ask you to consider a “Total Leadership” to unite the Tourism Industry (public, private and academic) on December 26, 2005 in commemorative efforts in the magnitude of recovery responses to similar dramatic occasions like the Aida performance after the Luxor massacre, the impressively arranged funeral of Lady Diana or the solemn September 11 memorials each year in New York.

What we need is a plan for a worldwide televised First Anniversary Ceremony that will remain in the memory of the world and, therefore, our present and future tourists!

Let’s go “outside the box” and ask ourselves: Can we get the government to invite Elton John to play “Candles in the wind”, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to sing the “Ave Maria” and of course also ask Asian top stars from China, India and Thailand to perform. Can we get the various religious organizations to help with an expressive religious approach for this event? Can we get the airline industry to assist in bringing the families of the victims here? Can we get the hospitality industry to help with lodging of those families? Can we get the tour operators to help transport those families? Can we get the event organizers to come up with a multi-religious and multi-cultural commemoration that is newsworthy and TV-made?

I bet we can!

Having been involved in Thailand’s tourism since 1985, I remember how Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, as minister of tourism, managed to unite the industry and the effect of those “Visit Thailand Year” efforts are now a classical case study and haven been copied by many other countries.

I am convinced that a budget similar to the Miss World investment would be a good basis for a worldwide televised event on this coming December 26 and a great remedy against all the re-runs of the horror pictures of last year that CNN and BBC will show that (normally news-slow) day.

Khun Jutamas, please let us set all differences and internal politics aside and put our heads and hands together by dedicating this commemoration to

-those who lost their lives,
-those injured,
-those who survived but lost everything else
-the grieving families that need help to move on to the next step in their lives.

Soothing ghosts and putting memories to rest will bring tourism back. All for one, one for all, nobody is perfect, but a team can be complete!

I really hope to hear from you and in the meantime, as always,

Winningly yours!
Bert van Walbeek