PATA Annual Conference highlighted Thailand’s Grand Invitation 2006
Pattaya was the rightly chosen venue for the prestigious Pacific Asia Travel
Association (PATA) Annual Conference on April 23-27, 2006, the same place,
where the PATA Travel Mart was last held in Thailand in 1996. That was also
the first year of the Mekong Tourism Forum, an event that laid the
groundwork for the phenomenal success enjoyed by the Greater Mekong
Sub-region countries. Last year, Vietnam gained more than three million
visitors and Laos more than one million. Cambodia already passed the
one-million mark in 2004. Both PATA and Thailand can claim to have played a
role in this success.
Siriwan (left), governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand, receives award from
Nobutaka Ishikure, PATA 2005/2006 chairman
Indeed, this year’s theme, Changing Lifestyles — New Opportunities, was also
perfectly timed for PATA’s fifty-fifth conference, which will be the last in
line. Much has changed in the last fifty-five years and there is no doubt
that changing lifestyles are producing new opportunities.
Juthamas Siriwan, outgoing Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT), announced at a media briefing that in this year is an important event
under way and that is the commemoration of the Sixtieth Anniversary
Celebrations of His Majesty the King’s Accession to the Throne. As His
Majesty is the world’s longest-reigning monarch, this is a landmark event
not just for Thailand but the world.
To honor Thailand’s beloved King, there is a year-long Grand Festival of
events nationwide to share Thailand’s colorful culture with all the visiting
travelers. The campaign, called “Thailand Grand Invitation 2006”, will be a
high profile project that will underscore the well-known ability to stage
June will be the month when the most important events will be held.
According to the Royal Household, there are a total of 29 countries with
reigning monarchs to visit. Royalties from nearly all these countries have
graciously accepted the invitations to join the royal celebrations including
the Emperor and Empress of Japan, the King and Queen of Sweden, the King of
Jordan, the King of Monaco, and Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom.
The colorful royal barge procession will be held on Monday June 12 followed
by the gala dinner for the royal guests and ambassadors on June 13. Both
these days will be considered government holidays in Bangkok and surrounding
provinces to alleviate the traffic problem and facilitate security
This year, Thailand are projecting 13.8 million visitors and 79.33 million
domestic trips, generating estimated revenues of 486 billion Baht and 378
billion Baht respectively. Markets targeted for intensive promotions are
mainly in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and East Asia, including China,
Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
The opening of the new Suvarnabhumi Airport this year will give new impetus
to the role of Thailand as the new aviation hub of Asia. A 28-kilometre
overhead rail link between downtown Bangkok and the new airport will cut
travelling time between the airport and the city center to only fifteen
minutes. A number of roads and highways will boost accessibility from
various parts of Bangkok and the surrounding provinces, with Pattaya being
one of the primary beneficiaries. Many developments have taken place here in
Pattaya, which appears set to become another Bangkok-by-the-sea, with
shopping centers, department stores, health and spa facilities, convention
centers, and fine dining facilities.
Beside the spectacular opening ceremony organized by TAT at the poolside of
the Royal Cliff Hotel, there was a special invitation to all the
international 1140 delegates. They enjoyed a musical journey around the
world at the Siam Bayshore Hotel & Spa with Thailand’s Queen of Jazz, Mrs.
Kamala Sukosol, who took stage there with 40 musicians, singers and dancers.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia hosted the
closing dinner at the modern Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall (PEACH).
Last not least, PATA decided to hold its annual Travel Mart 2006 in Hong
Kong on September 12-15 and PATA Travel Mart 2007 on September 25-28, 2007
in Bali, Indonesia.
TAT Connects Mountains to the Sea in new program
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
TAT Northern Region 2 has arranged a program entitled “Connect Mountain to
the Sea”, to exchange ideas and trade between tourism entrepreneurs from the
Northern Region and their counterparts in the Eastern Region, in an attempt
to encourage domestic tourism between the two widely diverse localities,
with a view to spreading tourism income more widely.
Thanya Nikrothanont, director of TAT Northern Region 2 disclosed that all
four Northern Region TAT offices (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok, and
Tak) are aiming to bring together tourism entrepreneurs from the Northern
Region to examine the Eastern tourism market at a series of conferences to
be held in Rayong, Pattaya, and Chonburi on May 29 – June 1, 2005. The four
TAT Northern Region offices understand that if they are able to persuade
more Thai tourists from the Eastern Region to visit the Northern Region, it
will give a boost to domestic tourism.
TAT Northern Region 2 will gather tourism entrepreneurs from Chiang Rai,
Phayao, Phrae, and Nan to participate in the program. Tourism entrepreneurs
from the Northern Region will sell and trade their products and services;
such as tours, accommodation, tourist attractions, restaurants, rental cars,
etc. to tourism entrepreneurs, businesses, academies, and factories in
Rayong, Pattaya, and Chonburi who are reportedly eager to participate in
this domestic program.
Thailand targets potential GMS tourism investment projects
During the highly anticipated session “Dialogue with the GMS Tourism
Ministers” during the 55th PATA Annual Conference in Pattaya on April 24,
2006, Thailand targeted four projects as Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS)
tourism investment potential.
Deputy permanent secretary Dr. Sasithara Pichaichannarong from Thailand’s
Ministry of Tourism and Sports identified the four following projects in
connection with the promotion of the GMS as a single destination:
Mekong Tourism Corridor, including areas in China’s Yunnan and Guangxi
provinces, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The attractions to
develop accordingly are in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Nan, Tak, Nong Khai, Ubon
Ratchathani and Mukdahan.
Emerald Triangle, including Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. The sites with
potential for tourism development are in Ubon Ratchathani and Sisaket.
Cruise Ship Tourism at the Andaman Coast, including Myanmar and Thailand.
The provinces of Ranong, Phang-nga, Krabi and Phuket will be connected with
the Myeik Archipelago in Myanmar.
Heritage Necklace, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
All five countries have spectacular UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as
Sukhothai in Thailand.
Ludwig Rieder, Asia-Pacific Projects in Manila, who is the driving force
behind the GMS Tourism Sector Strategy Plan to develop and promote the GMS
countries, monitored the session with HE Lay Prohas from Cambodia and HE
Somphong Mongkhonvilay from Laos in attendance. As the ministers of the four
other countries involved did not attend the meeting, the question was
raised, what will be the level of commitment of the Mekong countries towards
sub-regional co-operation in tourism development and promotion will be in
the coming future. There is no clear-cut answer to that.
In an area with 60 million people and problems in the fields of poverty
reduction, gender equality and sustainable development, co-operation in
tourism is a “must” to improve infrastructure, such as airports, markets and
energy supply. Deputy Director General, Southeast Asian Department, Arjun
Thapan from the Asian Development Bank in Manila cited the three Cs – namely
connectivity, competitiveness and community – to adhere to seamless travel
in the GMS countries and to combine the six GMS countries as a sustainable
Singaporean Stephen Yong as executive director of the newly opened Mekong
Tourism Office (MTO), based at the ministry in Bangkok, concluded the
interesting session by highlighting the private sector’s role in any
successful marketing and development of the GMS as a single destination.
Therefore, there will be a yearly Mekong Tourism Investment Summit, which
was held in Luang Prabang in Laos at the end of March 2006 and will be
probably staged next in Guangxi/China in 2007.