TRAVEL & TOURISM
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PATA Annual Conference highlighted Thailand’s Grand Invitation 2006

TAT Connects Mountains to the Sea in new program

Thailand targets potential GMS tourism investment projects

PATA Annual Conference highlighted Thailand’s Grand Invitation 2006

Reinhard Hohler
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.

Juthamas 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 spectacular events.
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 arrangements.
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

Reinhard Hohler
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 tourism destination.
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.