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TRAVEL & TOURISM
 

Thailand wins “Best Spa” destination

6th GeoSpa AsiaSpa India awards

The 6th GeoSpa AsiaSpa India Awards were held at the Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon, on 29th April to celebrate the Spa and Wellness industry. Thailand bagged the “Best Spa Destination (Asia)”, Reader’s choice Award voted by the readers of the AsiaSpa India Magazine, which is the most popular spa and wellness magazine in India. Ms. Runjuan Tongrut, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, received the award on behalf of Thailand. Also in attendance at the awards ceremony was the Ambassador of Thailand to India, H.E. Pisan Manawapat.
The AsiaSpa awards set a benchmark for originality and acknowledge the finest contributions made to the budding wellness industry. Apart from being a pioneer in this industry and the only spa awards in the region, the validation process is conducted by the reputed audit firm Grant Thornton.
On receiving the award, Ms. Runjuan said, “We are extremely delighted to receive the Best Spa Destination Award in Asia, and what makes this award even more special is that the destination is voted by the readers of the magazine. Thank you very much for voting for us and congratulations to AsiaSpa for organising such a wonderful event.”
This is the 3rd year Thailand has won the award (Thailand was awarded as the Best Spa Destination in Asia in 2008 and 2009).
The show was also attended by Bollywood personalities; such as, Hema Malini, Malaika Arora Khan, Dia Mirza and Arjun Kapoor. The evening was complete with MCs, dance performances and music which made the awards ceremony very enjoyable.
Thailand offers a range of high standard wellness and spa services and the country is known for its hospitality, service, cleanliness and authenticity of the spa treatments. Besides that, the spa designs in Thailand are also very varied and unique and include urban spas, spas in tropical setup, resorts, luxurious, holistic and wellness centres. (TAT)


Chinese arrivals top 1 million in first quarter

Led by a dramatic 93% growth in arrivals from China, Thailand’s visitor arrivals surged to a record total of 6,828,718 in January – March 2013, up by 18.94% over the same period of 2012, according to figures published by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
China’s total of 1.12 million visitor arrivals made it the first time that any country had crossed the one million mark in the short span of three months. The growth was mainly due to the Chinese New Year in February 2013, which led to a spike in long-holiday travel to Thailand. In addition, major markets such as Russia, Korea and India are showing strong double digit growth and Japan has bounced back strongly.
TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni welcomed the good results. “We are gratified to see that our marketing efforts are producing results. In these days of economic challenges and geopolitical instability, it is very important that at least one sector of the economy is continuing to prove to be a major source of income and jobs.” Mr. Suraphon said he was also pleased to see that the strengthening of the Thai Baht has not impacted visitor arrivals to Thailand.
All regions grew well except the Middle East. Visitors from East Asia totalled 3,623,713 (+28.50%), Europe 2,131,719 (+10.28%), the Americas 331,070 (+8.71%), South Asia 313,634 (+16.03%), Oceania 250,124 (+6.07%), Middle East 139,499 (-1.20%), and Africa 38,959 (+6.70%).
East Asia: East Asian visitor arrivals comprise the biggest market share of all visitors. A total of 3.62 million or 53.07% were from East Asian countries. Apart from China, the other top sources of arrivals were Malaysia (627,759), Japan (408,048), and Korea (350,529).
The ASEAN countries in total are generating over 1.48 million arrivals, with spectacular growth by Brunei (+73.11%), Indonesia (+35.13%), Myanmar (+23.27%), Singapore (+22.90%), Vietnam (+5.02%), Philippines (+4.42%), Malaysia (+1.94%) except Cambodia declined by 11.69% and Lao PDR. (-16.64%).
European visitors showed a good growth rate of 10.28% to 2.13 million. Russia retained its status as the largest source market from Europe with arrivals of 584,516, up 26%. Germany is the second highest source market with a total of 252,108, up 12.22%, followed by the United Kingdom 246,943, up 2.83%.
Strong growth from East Europe (+27%) and Sweden (+3.72%) was due to the positive economic conditions there and the special charter flights which are operated to Thailand during the winter months. Sweden is recovering from a year ago while Belgium (+12.10%), Ireland (+5.94%), Switzerland (+5.92%), Spain (+1.15%), and France (+0.40%) continued to see growth.
Declining source-markets from Europe included Italy, Denmark, Finland and Norway partly due to weather-related problems in Northern Europe. Italy was particularly affected by the Eurozone debt crisis and the presidential election in February 2013.
Arrivals from the Americas showed a growth of 8.71% to 331,070. The main market, USA, increased by 8.25% to 227,319, which was an indication of the country emerging from its economic downturn. Arrivals from Canada were up 4.57%. Showing considerable promise are Latin American markets; such as, Brazil (+21.11%) and Argentina (+18.28%) due to their strong economies.
Arrivals from South Asia grew by a strong 16.03% to 313,634. India topped the list with arrivals up by 18.21% to 249,350, due to its strong economy and increased flights. Other countries; such as, Pakistan (+7.14%) and Nepal (+2.21%), too, saw unrest and political protests but they did not affect tourist travel to Thailand.
Arrivals from Oceania grew by 6.07% to 250,124 visitors. Australian visitors were up 5.55% to 224,530 driven by the robust Australian economy and the strength of the Australian dollar. Arrivals from New Zealand were up 11.29% to 25,016.
Arrivals declined by 1.20% to 139,499 from the Middle Est. This was mainly because of a decline of 5.92% in arrivals from the UAE, to 20,209. UAE residents took advantage of the weak Euro and the subsequent fall in prices of travel packages to European destinations to travel there instead. Moreover, the economic sanctions on Iran have also dragged down the growth rate of this region.
However, some source-markets, including Egypt (+28.02%), Israel (+11.70%), and Kuwait (+11.21%) reported good results.
Arrivals from Africa grew by 6.70% to 38,959, mainly due to the driving force of the South African market.
In 2013, TAT is confident that if the global, regional and local situation remains stable, Thailand will receive 24.14 million arrivals, generating a projected tourism income of 1.1 trillion Baht. (TAT)


TAT holds “Colourful Thai Life” photo contest

Poy Sang Long, or the Shan New Year, is one of the colorful highlights of life in Chiang Mai. (file photo)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) with the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand (RPST) is holding a photo contest with the theme being “Colourful Thai Life”. This contest aims to publicise images of the enticing characteristics of Thailand from different angles and also, to raise awareness about the Thai lifestyle and the importance of preserving it.
The photograph must be in a digital format. It can be a digital image file or a scanned image file from a film camera. Also, it must be in colour. A printed photograph will not be eligible. The photo must have a resolution no less than 240 dpi and have a size no smaller than 2880 x 4320 pixels. Photographs can be taken in both digital and film formats. In the case of a film format, it must be transferred to a high-resolution digital image file. Photographs must be taken within 2 years before the contest deadline’s date (30 June 2013). Photographs must be in a landscape format. Portrait, square or panoramic format will not be accepted. Submissions are accepted
The file must be saved on a Thumb Drive (CD or DVD submission is not accepted) and can be submitted in 3 ways:
1. Entrants can submit the file themselves at the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, 2nd. Floor Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Pathumwan Intersection.
2. Submit via postal mail: “Colourful Thai Life” Photo Contest’ PO Box 80, Samsen Road, Phayathai, Bangkok 10140, Thailand..
3. Upload the file onto the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand’s website: www. rpst.or.th
The contest is open to anyone regardless of age and gender. Photos must be submitted by June 30, 2013. More information online at the TAT website: www. tatnews.org. (TAT)


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Thailand wins “Best Spa” destination

Chinese arrivals top 1 million in first quarter

TAT holds “Colourful Thai Life” photo contest