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Travel & Tourism 

Phachi River Wildlife Sanctuary: A Diverse Ecosystem

The Phachi River Wildlife Sanctuary is regarded as one of Thailand's most diverse ecosystems, housing various flora and fauna that are becoming extinct elsewhere. With its pristine nature, it is a spacious home to rare wildlife species such as wild gaurs, koupreys, tigers, elephants, and Feas Muntjac's - or the Barking Deer- which can only be found in this area. Alongside the diverse array of wild animals, several species of rare plants are also found in the lush-green forests.

" To understand about this area, research and data must be thoroughly collected to find the most suitable means of preserving the environment. Especially, when we find extremely rare types of plants, proper research must be conducted," said Amolrat Liamtrakulpanich, Biodiversity Project director.


The area of the Phachi River Wildlife Sanctuary spans over 300,000 rai of land, covering over two districts known as Suan Pung and Baan Ka. Ten years ago, it was enlisted as one of ASEAN's heritage sites. Also a national protected area, authorities are attempting to register this natural beauty as a world heritage site.


"We need to research the diversity of the plants, as well as the butterflies and mushrooms found in the area. Once we know the details, we can use the data to help manage the area to ensure its sustainability," said Prateep Hermpayak, chief of Ban Phachi Wildlife Conservatory Area.

"We eat certain products from the forests such as mushrooms and bamboo, but when we go to the forests, we never take plants from the area for commercial purposes," said Warunee Srisunan, local villager.

Yet to ensure sustainability of the Ratchaburi's Phachi River Wildlife Sanctuary, local authorities have already requested for an expansion of the protected area. From the original 300,000 Rai of land, related-authorities have appealed for another 260,000 rai of land to be included in the protected area.

As a means to stop deforestation, illegal logging and to protect the general ecosystem, this has been deemed as the most suitable means of ensuring that healthy environments such as this will remain to be enjoyed by Thailand's future generations. (MCOT online news)


TAT Sees Opportunity to Boost Thailand’s Tourism in Spain and Belgium Markets

Bangkok – February 22, 2013 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) took part in two large annual travel trade fairs in Europe - FITUR 2013 and Holiday Fair. FITUR 2013 was held in Madrid, Spain during 30 January – 3 February, 2013, while the Holiday Fair was set in Brussels, Belgium during 2-5 February, 2013. There were 200-300 trade exhibitors from 150 countries taking part in the events and each event welcomed approximately 100,000 consumers.
TAT and the Thailand team also met with major operators in each market; such as, travelagents and alliance airlines to discuss mutual support to Thai tourism. Mr. Manit Boonchim, Executive Director, Europe, Africa and Middle East Region said the number of arrivals from the two countries tends to increase by 10-12%. This is remarkable in light of the financial difficulty that the EU is experiencing.
Together with its travel trade partners, TAT plans to undertake several marketing and public relations activities to promote Thai tourism in the markets. Its strategy is to focus on some segments that will receive the least effect from the economic crisis; such as honeymooners, couples, and business people. In addition, new flights from Brussels to Bangkok and Phuket will be a positive factor to expand the market, as are more flights from the Middle East.
In 2012, Thailand received 113,270 visitors from Spain which was an increase of 18.75% and generated income of 5.143 billion Baht, and also received 94,549 visitors from Belgium with an increase of 14.45%, generating 4.681 billion Baht.

In 2013, TAT expects the numbers of arrivals from the countries to increase by 10-12%, which will be 125,000 visitors from Spain and 104,000 visitors from Belgium.

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4544-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.tatnews.org


Tourism Authority of Thailand to Hold Photography Contest

TATNEWS.ORG SEEKING IMAGES OF THAI EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

The official media website for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, www.TATNews.org,  is inviting all photographers, travelers, media, and anyone interested in photography to participate in their first photo contest of 2013, with the theme being “Thailand Events & Festivals”.

The competition is open to professionals and amateurs alike, regardless of age or nationality, and while it will provide a platform for photojournalists, the aim is to showcase the wide variety of events and festivals that occur in Thailand.



One marketing executive at the TAT said, “Thailand is of course known as a premier tourist destination, largely due to its beaches, exciting food, and the warm hospitality of the people, but it is rich in culture and tradition, too. We felt there’s no better way to recognize this than through images of the diverse array of ceremonies, celebrations and cultural affairs that go on throughout the country.”

There will be three monetary awards on offer with the 1st place winner taking home a cash prize of 30,000 THB (approximately $1,000 USD), 2nd place earning 20,000 THB, and 3rd place 10,000 THB. Awards will be limited to one prize per entrant.

A panel comprised of TAT representatives will judge the images on a range of factors, and their choices for the winning photos will be announced on their website on 21st March, 2013. The submission period runs from 18th February - 18th March, 2013 (the deadline for entries is 23.00 Thailand time on the 18th of March).

Contest participants may submit as many photos as they’d like, provided they pertain to the theme, and they must be original works and captured with a digital still camera. Scans of old photos that were taken by film cameras are not accepted. The contest is not open to employees of the Tourism Authority of Thailand or its subsidiaries or affiliates, and entrants under 18 years of age require the permission of a parent or legal guardian.

For more information, please visit www.TATNews.org/Photo-Contest


Phuket top choice for Thai travelers

BANGKOK, 15 February 2013 (NNT) – A recent poll has indicated that the southern province of Phuket is the most popular destination for Thai tourists; while 80% of the Thai travelers prefer travelling domestically to going abroad.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce conducted a poll on tourism destination among 1,200 Thai respondents during February 4-8.

According to UTCC’s Center for Economic and Business Forecasting (CEBF) Director Dr. Thanawat Polvichai, the poll has indicated that 40% of Thai tourists see Thailand as the best tourism destination, while 80% of the respondents would prefer travelling in Thailand to going overseas.

If given a choice between traveling abroad and domestically that cost about the same amount of money, 90% of the respondents said they would visit Phuket. For overseas destinations, China is the number-one choice, followed by Vietnam and Singapore, Dr Thanawat said

In the meantime, around 80% of the respondents said they would travel to provinces that are not their hometown.

The director concluded that most see that they get more for their money traveling in Thailand than going abroad


Lonely Planet Travel Guide Recommends Thailand in 2013

Bangkok, Thailand – 15 February, 2013 - LonelyPlanet.com, the world-renowned travel guide and website, has reported that its Thailand guidebook has topped the charts of its complete global catalogue, as of January 2013. Thailand was also chosen to be included in the RECOMMENDED BY LONELY PLANET 2013 programme that recognises destinations that are reviewed in their catalogue of guidebooks.

Now marking its 30th anniversary, the latest edition of the market-leading guide on Thailand covers what its editors call “the fresh, the transformed, the hot and the happening, from new transport routes to get you to the beach faster, flights through the canopy in Ko Tao and stylish sleeps for all the hip new hotels in Bangkok.”

After covering 3,219 km of coastline and over 150 temples, the Lonely Planet writers completed 37 weeks of in-depth research to declare: “Friendly and fun-loving, exotic and tropical, cultured and historic, Thailand beams with a lustrous hue from its gaudy temples and golden beaches to the ever-comforting Thai smile.”

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni noted, “We’re delighted to see the Thailand guidebook top the latest list of these guidebooks. As a provider of travel and tourism information ourselves, it is great to be connected in this way to a similar resource like Lonely Planet.”

Thailand -- and a few of its world-class destinations – has appeared at the top of several lists. Then there are the frequent shout-outs in Lonely Planet’s special features on specific travel destinations for various categories. For example, Chiang Mai is a perennial hotspot and Bangkok’s Chinatown a frequent favourite.

Regarding Chiang Mai, Tom Hewitson, Lonely Planet’s Destinations Editor, has recommended the famous northern Thai city as one of the best places to be for the New Year Countdown. He praises Chiang Mai’s reasonable prices, beautiful winter weather, and fun-loving atmosphere.

One memorable night at a rock concert on New Year’s Eve, he described tens of thousands of Chinese lanterns illuminating the sky. The northern mountain town of Pai is also recommended as the perfect laid back follow-on destination, a place to relax, unwind, and cleanse away one’s aches and pains simmering in the natural hot springs of the area.

On the more exciting and dynamic side, Lonely Planet advises its readers to “Enter the Dragon” and explore Bangkok’s exhilarating Chinatown. The article notes that one hasn’t fully experienced Bangkok until “you’ve entered the dragon,” a.k.a. Yaowarat Road. This teeming, bustling neighbourhood has been plying its diverse wares since Bangkok’s founding in 1782, and is popular with not only tourists but also locals who have their favourite shops, vendors, and restaurants along the street.

For information about the RECOMMENDED BY LONELY PLANET 2013 programme, and other features on Thailand, visit www.lonelyplanet.com.

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.tatnews.org


A magnificent underwater way to say 'I do'

TRANG, Feb 14 – Undersea weddings have become the symbol of Valentine’s Day in this southern province with couples diving into the turquoise-coloured Andaman Sea to have their marriages officially registered.

Trang Governor Tirayuth Iamtrakul and Salil Totabtiang, chairman of the Trang Chamber of Commerce, led 31 couples to the pier at Pak Meng Beach in Sikao district, to jointly celebrate the Undersea Wedding Ceremony, the 17th of its kind in this seaboard province.

Five Thai couples dived into the sea near Kradarn island in Kantang district some 15 metres deep to register their marriages and released 10 pairs of lovely marine creatures, fondly called “cartoon fish.”

A wedding reception was held for 31 couples on the so-called Undersea Wedding Beach on the campus of Rajamangkala University of Technology Srivichai.

The newly-wed couples will go sightseeing at Le Kao Kob cave in Huay Yod district, boasted as one of the “Unseen Thailand” attractions, and pay homage to the spirits of Trang tomorrow, the culmination of the three-day wedding activity.

Many couples, impressed by the unique ceremony and beautiful scenery of the province, promised to return to Trang in the future. They said the beauty of Trang was natural and residents have lived up to the province’s slogan of “Trang the City of Happiness.” (MCOT online news)


THAI to launch more routes to attract 25 million travellers

BANGKOK, Feb 14 - Thai Airways International (THAI), Thailand's national flag carrier, will launch more routes to attract 25 million more travellers as part of its collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

THAI President Sorajak Kasemsuvan said the airline had discussed with TAT, and this year's target is to attract 25 million travellers to the country.

More flights to such destinations as Japan's Sapporo will be added, from five to seven flights/week during Thailand's cool season.

More routes from and to India and Russia will also be operated, for a high percentage of tourists from both countries visit Thailand, as well as routes from and to China and Myanmar.

THAI will soon open Bangkok-Mandalay-Bangkok flights, believing such a route will attract about an 80 per cent of passenger load per flight on average. (MCOT online news)


Trang Opens New Eco-tourism Route, Prepares for Famous Underwater Weddings

Trang - 11 February, 2013: Beautiful Trang Province, located along the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, is opening a new inland trail to promote eco-tourism in the area.
Located south of the town center in Palian District, the new route features whitewater rafting, elephant rides, and visits to the Sakai, a tribal community in the Banthat mountains, according to provincial chief Kit Leepai.

Mr. Leekpai noted, “Trang has long been known for its beautiful beach and diving. We also want people to know that our nature on land is also spectacular." Indeed, two mountain ranges – the Khao Luang and Banthat – are the sources of its two major rivers, the Trang and the Palian.

Tourists will be able to cruise down the Palian on one of 16 brand-new kayaks, guided by local officers, over a gorgeous five-kilometer stretch of river, which is also excellent for rafting. Additionally, visitors can make their way to the Sakai people’s village on foot or by elephant.

Trang is best-known for its unique underwater weddings. This year, the Provincial Administrative Office has again teamed up with the local chamber of commerce and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to host the 17th Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony between February 13-15, 2013.

This year, some 30 Thai couples have signed up to exchange vows underwater, including 2 Malaysian couples. Four of these couples are experienced divers, and they will sign their marriage registrations and kiss their new spouses underwater.

The wedding ceremony takes place near Koh Kradan, or Kradan Island, about an hour’s ride out from Trang’s coast; the coast itself a spectacular natural site, famous for its extensive mangrove forests. These “rainforests by the sea” have undergone extensive rehabilitation in recent years, regenerating this critical tropical ecosystem.
Trang’s watery weddings have been taking place since 1996. In 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as the world’s “largest underwater wedding ceremony.” These maritime marriages are but one of several Guinness listings for the effervescent Thai people, ever keen to put on a good show.

Couples participating in the ceremony have paid 35,000 Thai Baht per couple to tie their nautical knots, which includes accommodation, food, wedding dress, diving gear, and a three-day tour of Trang. Other packages are available annually without accommodation and for guests.

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: www.tatnews.org


Thailand wins for the third consecutive year the International Snow Sculpture Contest at the Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan

Bangkok – 8 February 2013: The title of Grand Champion has again been bestowed on Thailand’s master ice craftsmen as they produced the winning entry in the 40th International Snow Sculpture at the 64th Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan, held during February 5-11, 2013.

For this year, there were 11 international teams participating in the completion. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) sponsored an ice sculpting team and entered the snow statue The Artist from the Wild which represented the figures of 4 elephants, the national animal of Thailand. The statue depicted the elephants holding a paintbrush in their trunk and doing a delicate painting. The act symbolized the amazing artistic skills of Thai elephants that are in contrast to their size and strength. Such unique displays can only be found in Thailand. Elephants in Thailand are also very close to people as they are treated as members of mahouts’ family. The sculptor team included Mr. Kusol Bunkobsongserm, Mr. Kritsana Wongtes and Mr. Amnoaysak Srisuk.

On this occasion, Thailand also received the honor by the festival organiser HBC to showcase Thainess at the Odori Site, HBC Thailand Square. The snow statue of 28x15x21 meter Wat Benchamabophit or The Marble Temple, sculpted by Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force, the Northern Army Signal Group and the Northern Army Logistics Support Unit has been a hit with people attending the fair.

In the past competition, Thailand has won the Grand Champion title 4 times in 2000, and 2008-2010. This is the first time of its history that the champion won for the third consecutive year.

The award ranking is as follows:

Thailand
Finland
Indonesia
Sweden
Singapore

In Photo: (From Left to Rright) Mr. Sugree Sithivanich , Executive Director, Advertising and Public Relations Department, the sculptor team from Thailand, and Mr. Kitsana Kaewtumrong, Director, International Advertising Publicity Division.

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected] 
Web site: www.tatnews.org

 


Art festival to be held in Ratchaburi to promote tourism to the province

BANGKOK, 7 February 2013 (NNT) -- The Tourism Authority of Thailand is organizing an art festival to attract more tourists to the city of Ratchaburi.

Ratchaburi is about to hold an art festival under the theme "In Love with Art @ Ratchaburi". The event will feature three genres of art: visual art, performing art, and music. The visual art will be presented through a street art exhibition under the theme “We are the City”. The performing art will be in the form of a "dance theater". Music will be presented in the form of concerts held under candlelight in a valley. It will feature diva singer Rose Sirintip and such bands as Soul After Six and Better Weather.

The art festival is taking place on February 23rd and 24th in three locations. The street art exhibition will be held in the central district of Ratchaburi. The stage performance will be at Suan Silp Baan Din, in Photaram District. The concerts, meanwhile, will be held in The Scenery Resort and Farm, Suan Phueng District.


TAT To Organize Huge Chinese New Year Festivals in Bangkok, 12 Provinces

Bangkok, Thailand - 6 February, 2013: The Tourism Authority of Thailand has lined up several celebrations to mark the Chinese New Year holiday in 2013. Between Feb 6-14, Bangkok’s famed Yaowarat Road will host the Chinese New Year Festival in China Town, and the Regional Chinese New Year Festival 2013 will take place in 12 major provinces across Thailand.

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “We expect that more than 2.6 million domestic and foreign tourists will be on the move during Chinese New Year, generating nearly 11 billion Baht in spending.

According to the Department of Civil Aviation, special permission has been given for local and foreign airlines to operate hundreds of extra flights to cater to the huge demand between February 9-14, the peak period. During those days, the DCA has cleared 633 flights to Thailand’s various international airports, consisting of 134,828 seats. This breaks down as 400 flights from mainland China (76,745 seats), 115 flights from Hong Kong (30,403 seats), 35 flights from Taiwan (9,684 seats), and 83 flights from neighboring Vietnam (17,996 seats).

China is now the biggest source-market of visitors to Thailand. Chinese arrivals totalled 2,789,345 in 2012, up by a huge 62% over 2011, and comprising a market share of 12.51% of total visitor arrivals to Thailand.
In 2012, Chinese visitors stayed an average of 8 days and spent an average of 4,716.56 baht (US$151) per person per day. This generated 45.55 billion baht (US$1.4 billion) tourism foreign exchange revenue to the Thai economy, the highest revenue generating market for Thailand.

TAT is expecting 2013 arrivals from China to total 3,257,936 million. Also known as the “Spring Festival”, the Chinese New Year festivities in 2013 will have extra significance as Thailand plans to use the occasion to recognize the 38th anniversary of Thai-Chinese diplomatic relations. A special partnership between the TAT and China’s Ministry of Culture has made it possible for 180 performers from 7 provinces in China to travel to the Land of Smiles. After their shows in Bangkok, the troupe will head upcountry to perform in the following 5 provinces:

Songkhla (Hat Yai): Performance from Liaoning and Shandong, February 10-11
Nakhon Sawan : Kung Fu performance from Tianjin, February 10-12
Ratchaburi: Dance performance from Tibet, February 10-12
Suphanburi: Acrobatic performance called “A-fan-ti” from Urumchi City, Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu, February 10-12
Ayutthaya: Performance from Inner Mongolia’s Autonomous Region and Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu, February 10-12
This will mark the first time that Thailand has been honored by Mr. Cai Wu, the Chinese Culture Minister, and also Ms. Zhao Zaohua, Deputy Culture Minister, who has invited an 11-person media team from CCTV to cover the events of the Chinese New Year in Thailand.

One reason for the huge growth in popularity of Thailand is the success of the low-budget Chinese movie “Lost in Thailand”. Shot in Thailand, It has been a big hit in China. Between December 12, 2012 - January 27, 2013, it generated income of more than US$184 million.

Thailand is a short-haul and value-for-money destination with good airline connections and visa on arrival facilities for Chinese visitors. The kingdom is also well-known for its long-standing tradition of friendliness and hospitality.

Thailand and China have much in common in terms of food, cultural and ethnic relationships. Many Thai prominent businessmen and political families have roots in China. Bangkok has a very large and bustling Chinatown area where Chinese visitors can regularly be seen shopping for herbal medicines, jewellery and gold. Many of them also go to make offerings at the numerous Chinese temples.

Chinese visitors are changing in customer and demographic profile. But regardless of whether they are coming for business, MICE, holiday, honeymoon, sports, etc., both high-spenders and economy visitors will find an extensive range of places to stay, eat and shop as well as many activities to enjoy in Thailand which will suit their tastes, preferences and budget.

In addition, Popular Thai celebrity “Pong” Nawat KulRattanarak who has a huge fan following and is very popular among the Chinese media, has helped publicise and promote the kingdom in his various public appearances.

Top five destinations for Chinese visitors to Thailand are Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Rayong and Chiang Mai.

At present, TAT has 4 offices in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming and Chengdu) and plans to open new offices in Guangzhou in the near future.

The 12 Provinces participating in the 2013 Chinese New Year festivals are as follows:

Province
Date
Event Name
Venue
Bangkok
9-10 Feb 2013
Chinese New Year @ China Town
10 Feb – Yaowarat Road
9 Feb – Thai Cultural Center
Chiang Mai
1 –11 Feb 2013
Chiang Mai Chinese New Year 2013 @Chiang Mai China Town
Warorot Market
Nakorn Sawan
3-14 Feb 2013
7 Years Heavenly Dragon Continuing the Legend of Chinese New Year in Pak Nam Pho
Paknampho
Phra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya
11-16 Feb 2013
Auspicious Chinese New Year in Ancient City, Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya Municipal Office
Suphanburi
8-12 Feb 2013
Chinese New Year 2013 @ Suphanburi
Heavenly Dragon Park, Dragon Descendants Museum, City Pillar Shrine
Ratchaburi
9-12 Feb 2013
Ratchaburi China Town 2013
Ratchaburi National Museum
Petchburi
9-12 Feb 2013
Sweet Chinese New Year, Petchburi City Festival
Mueng Petch Market
Nakhon Ratchasima
8-10 Feb 2013
Korat Chinese New Year Festival, “Travel to China through the dimension”
The Monument of Thao Suranari and Memorial Park
Pattaya (Chonburi)
9-10 Feb 2013
-
9 Feb Lan Pho Park (Na Kluea)
10 Feb Central Plaza Festival
Hat Yai (Song Kla)
2-12 Feb 2013
Hatyai Chinese New Year Festival 2013
Srinakorn Foundation School
Phuket
15-17 Feb 2013
2013 Chinese New Year Festival – Flashback to Phuket City in the Past
72nd Anniversary Queen Sirikit Park, Klang Road, and Soi Rommani, Krabi Road
Trang
8-10 Feb 2013
Trang Chinese New Year Festival 2013
Ratchadamnoen Road, and in front of Trang City Municipality

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected] 
Web site: www.tatnews.org


Thailand Ranked Second Best Long-Haul Destination in Kuoni Travel Trends Report 2013

London - 6 February, 2013: Thailand has been rated the second best long-haul destination in the 2013 Travel Trends Report issued by the UK tour operator Kuoni. It has also been rated amongst the Top Ten in other categories such as for Weddings, Honeymoons and for Singles.

Listing the top three selling destinations for 2013 as the Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the report says, "The fact that Thailand occupies the No 2 slot in our Top 10 Destinations is no surprise. The country offers holidays for everyone from captivating cities such as Bangkok with its floating markets to small island hideaways to languish in, overlaid with a friendly, open culture."

It adds, “The world's austere economic outlook will drive a greater need for opportunities to escape the doom and gloom. The power of a holiday will not diminish and the allure of the Maldives, Thailand and Sri Lanka will continue."

Kuoni has been undertaking the annual Travel Trends Report since 1980. Figures in the 2013 Report are based on statistics from booking patterns made between January to December 2012 for holidays during 2012 and 2013, actual passenger numbers, customer behaviour and feedback. The figures are based on holiday bookings made up until December 2012.

Said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “The trends indicated in the Kuoni report are proof that the entire Thai tourism industry has got its marketing and product-development strategies right. Keeping a watch on lifestyle trends and demographic changes has helped us to ensure that we target our customers correctly. We are very happy to see the results.”

The following is a compilation of the mentions of Thailand and its various tourism products in the report:

Top 10 Destinations: The fact that Thailand occupies the No 2 slot in Kuoni Top 10 Destinations is no surprise. The country offers holidays for everyone from captivating cities such as Bangkok with its floating markets to small island hideaways to languish in, overlaid with a friendly, open culture. Thailand also retains it second spot. Synonymous with excellent value and outstanding service, in 2013 Kuoni is offering ten exclusive properties, from Trip Advisor’s top choice – Rocky’s in a private location on the lush island of Ko Samui – to the new, laid back charm of Let’s Sea in Hua Hin and the family friendly Holiday Inn Mai Khao in Phuket, which offers Kids Suits including play corner, games console, iPod docking station and so on.

Top 10 Wedding Destinations: Thailand in sixth place, up from seven last year, is another great value destination. Hotels such as the secluded Centara Villas on a private beach offers a “Just the two of us” packages for approximately 450 that takes some beating.

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations: Thailand in third place, up from fourth last year, excels in smaller hideaway resorts perfect for honeymoons. Places such as Six Senses Yao Noi, Ko Lanta, and Khao Lak are making their mark alongside Thailand's excellent beach and city-based resorts. At Yao Noi, Mountain View villas are elevated above lush, tropical forest while at Ko Lanta each of the 55 hideaway villas have private pools and are set into the hillside that is part of a mature rubber tree plantation.

Top 5 Holidays for Singles: Thailand stays firm in the Number 1 slot, with a host of tours to choose from, renowned personal service, iconic sites and fabulous food. Single travellers can choose between a volunteering holiday in Chiang Mai, unspoilt beach resorts to languish in, rich cultural traditions to dip in and out of and unparalleled landscapes to marvel at.

Kuoni was established in 1906 in Switzerland. Today the tour operator has branch operations in over 40 countries. Further info: www.kuoni.co.uk

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected] 
Web site: www.tatnews.org


TAT Extends One Million Thanks to Indian Travel Trade as Indian Arrivals Hit One Million

New Delhi – February 6, 2013: The Tourism Authority of Thailand New Delhi office organised “A Million Thanks Evening” on 15 January 2013 to thank the Indian travel trade for helping the Thai tourism industry cross an important milestone, the one-million Indian arrivals to Thailand in 2012.

A number of senior TAT officials flew in from Bangkok for this special event, including TAT Governor Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni; Deputy Governor Mr. Sansern Ngaorungsi; Director ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Market Division Mr. Phanom Kaributra; Director TAT Mumbai Mr. Sethaphan Bhuddani, and Director TAT New Delhi Ms. Runjuan Tongrut. The guest of honour was Thai Ambassador to India Mr. Pisan Manawapat.

From the Indian side, Mr. Amitabh Kant, the former joint secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India who is now CEO & Managing Director of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation graced the occasion. The turnout of more than 200 guests included senior Indian travel agents, corporates, wedding planners and media as well as representatives of 54 Thai companies who were in New Delhi at the time to participate in SATTE 2013, a leading Indian travel show.

The TAT also flew in the famous Thai band Koh Mr. Saxman from Bangkok to provide foot-tapping entertainment. The evening ended with several lucky draws with trips to Thailand.

In 2012, Indian arrivals to Thailand totalled 1,015,865, up 11% over 2011. In addition to normal leisure travellers and group tours, the Indian tourists include growing numbers of families, wedding celebrations and honeymooners, golfers, upmarket women travellers, film-crews and MICE delegates. Indian travellers are also venturing beyond the usual Bangkok-Pattaya route favoured by first-time travellers and heading for Krabi, Samui, Phuket, Khao Yai, Hua Hin, Koh Chang, Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya.

Said Mr. Suraphon,“It was appropriate for us to organise this special evening to thank all the members of the Indian travel trade who have helped us achieve this one-million milestone. We are forecasting continued growth from India well into the future, but it will not be possible without the help and support of the Indian travel trade.”

Pictures below show various shots of the evening.


Unique Thai Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the “Month of Love”

Bangkok, Thailand - 1 February, 2013: To mark the Valentine season in February 2013, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is proud to present a number of unique and memorable ways for wedding and honeymooning couples to either tie the knot or enjoy the honeymoon of a lifetime.

In recent years, Thailand has become one of the world's most popular travel destinations for weddings and honeymoons. Many couples choose Thailand to tie the knot in a land renowned for its sense of grace and style, following customs and ceremonies with rich roots in Buddhist culture.

The kingdom’s spectacular range of secluded, all-inclusive resorts, boutique hotels and pool villas also are perfect for honeymoons. Here are some of the unique ceremonies on offer:

- Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony, 13-15 February 2013, Trang Province: This Underwater Wedding Ceremony is widely recognised as one of the world’s most fascinating events. It has gained worldwide popularity as the first place in the world where a wedding ceremony was held under water. In 2000, the Guinness World Records recognised it as "The Largest Underwater Wedding Ceremony." The couples also included a number of disabled people, clearly showing that love knows no bounds. For further details, please check out www.underwaterwedding.com.

- Wedding Ceremony on Elephant-Back, 14 February 2013, Surin Province: Wedding Ceremony on Elephant-Back is held on St. Valentine’s Day at Elephant Study Center, Tha Tum District, Surin Province. The ceremony, known as "Sut Tae Ceremony", is the traditional wedding of the local tribe called "Kuai" which believes that it brings good fortune and prosperity to the couples. Even the marriage registration process takes place on elephant-back. Additionally, couples can experience and/or participate in accompanying activities such as Bai Si Su Khwan, a parade of a symbolic sum of money representing dowry, traditional drum performance and dancing. Contact details: TAT Surin office, tel: (66) 44514447.

-Wedding Ceremony in “Million Red Lotus” Sea, 12-14 February 2013, Udon Thani Province: Red Lotus in Kumphawadpi reserve in Udon Thani Province or “Ramsar Site wetland.” Located in Thailand’s Upper Northeast region, this wetlands area boasts a rich ecosystem full of numerous species of water plants and marine life. The local people around the Nong Han pond have a lifestyle that is line with the Sufficiency Economy of His Majesty the King. They all help to maintain the local ecosystem, making the Nong Han pond clean and pure. February is also the month in which good weather conditions are ideal for the local red lilies to bloom. A "tricycle parade” is provided for wedding couples to pay homage to the Buddha at various prominent temples in the city of Udon Thani. For further details, please contact TAT Udon Thani office, Tel: (66) 42325406-7.

“Thailand 2gether Forever”

Bearing the theme of “Flowers and Love”, this activity is part of the “Thailand 2gether Forever” campaign targeted at wedding couples and honeymooners. This specific activity will provide them a fast-track entry via the Immigration Premium Lane at Suvarnabhumi Airport all through February 2013. For the first time, the privilege is also being extended to same-sex couples.

Newly wedded couples and honeymooning couples can register at any of the booths located before the Suvarnabhumi Airport immigration check-in counters. Couples arriving from the East side (Gate A, B and C) will find the booth located at the end of walking escalator before the immigration counter number 3. Tourists come from the West side (Gate E, F and G) will find the booth at the end of walking escalator before the immigration counter number 1.

After registration, the couples will get stickers, welcoming gifts and souvenirs (Sukjai dolls). Thereafter, they will be escorted into the immigration Premium Lane No. 2 where they will have to show the stickers to the Immigration officers.

Over the years, Thailand has won a number of awards recognising the many creative and unique opportunities to get married and/or enjoy a memorable honeymoon. These awards include:

The Most Popular Wedding Destination Award at the 8th Annual International Awards 2012 organised by Hospitality India and Explore the World magazines on 21 November 2012.
Earlier in 2012, Thailand won the Best Wedding Destination Award conferred by Travel & Leisure magazine.
In the January 2011 issue of Recommend magazine, Thailand was named by the travel agent community as the “Sexiest Romance Honeymoon Destination in Asia.”

Contact information:
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected] 
Web site: www.tatnews.org 


Suvarnabhumi expects more passengers during Chinese New Year

BANGKOK, 4 February 2013 (NNT) - Suvarnabhumi Airport is expected to welcome around 166,000 passengers per day during the Chinese New Year, more than double that of the same period last year.

Suvarnabhumi Airport Director Wilaiwan Nadwilai said that the airport saw around 80,000 visitors per day during last year’s Chinese New Year. However, during February 6-18, she expected the number to increase to 166,000 people per day, or around 2.1 million during the festivities.

According to Ms Wilaiwant, fewer tourists than usual visited Thailand during Chinese New Year last year owing to the fact that the country was still recovering from the flood devastation.

This year, the airport is cooperating with the Immigration Bureau to provide sufficient staff; while the number of security officers, baggage officials, and information staff will be increased.
 


Thailand to welcome Chinese tourists during Chinese New Year

BANGKOK, 4 February 2013 (NNT) - The Immigration Bureau is gearing up for an influx of Chinese tourist arrivals during the Chinese New Year.

Immigration chief Police Lieutenant General Phanu Kerdlapphol said the bureau has prepared Chinese-speaking volunteer officers to welcome tourists at major airports nationwide.

The bureau estimated that over 120,000 Chinese tourists will be arriving in Thailand via Suvarnabhumi airport, while Don Muang airport is set to accommodate around 20,000 per day during the festival.

The number of Chinese tourist arrival is also expected to increase by 30 percent at Phuket and Chiang Mai international airports.

Last year marked the 37th Anniversary of Thai-Chinese diplomatic relations in January with a range of lively, colourful Chinese New Year festivities in Bangkok and ten provinces nationwide.
 


Trang prepares to host underwater weddings

TRANG, 4 February 2013 (NNT) – The Trang Chamber of Commerce is ready to host the 17th Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony 2013 to promote tourism opportunities in the province.

The Trang Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), as well as other participating local authorities and the private sector are joining hands launching the "Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony 2013" during February 13-15.

The project is aimed at further promoting the truly spectacular natural seaside and marine resources, with the warm love-giving atmosphere; under the concept of "Romantic Destination". Trang’s beautiful coral reef is the habitat of various aquatic plants and marine creatures. February is the high season for the Andaman Sea as the weather is perfect. Lovers and tourists do not have to be bothered by monsoon.

Under the program, couples will together plant trees, join a local parade, and traditional Rot Nam Sang, the pouring of the holy water ceremony, as part of the wedding.

On Valentine’s Day, lovers will have their underwater wedding ceremony, which is the highlight of the event, at Koh Kradan in the Hat Chao Mai National Park. The newlyweds will also be on an unseen Thailand tour to stunning natural tourist destinations in Trang, the province famous for its beautiful coral reefs and the Emerald, or Morakot, Cave.

Couples looking for an unforgettable experience can seek information from the Trang Chamber of Commerce at (075) 225-353 or www.underwaterwedding.com.


Border districts in Chiang Mai to develop historical tourism

BANGKOK, 4 January 2013 (NNT) - Five border districts in Chiang Mai province are developing historical tourism promotion plans in preparation for the opening of the temporary checkpoint of Kiew Pha Wok in Chiang Dao district.

Mr Phairote Kunlawanit from the Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Commerce said he and a team responsible for studying the feasibility of the opening of the Kiew Pha Wok checkpoint had agreed to have the five border districts create historical tourism promotion plans. The plans will be proposed to the Chiang Mai governor and the provincial border committee as the province’s strategy.

The five districts are Wiang Haeng, Chiang Dao, Mae Ai, Fang and Chai Prakan.

However, Mr Phairote pointed out that, unlike Thailand, neighboring Myanmar was not yet ready for the opening of the new temporary checkpoint since its government had not established complete control over minority groups living there. Therefore, he said Chiang Mai would in the meantime prepare itself for the checkpoint opening and promote tourism domestically.

If things go according to the plans, the districts would become tourist cities that could generate huge income for the local communities, the official added.


Phuket expects Bt2 bln in circulation during Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day

PHUKET, Jan 31 – Phuket’s Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) provincial office estimates that the upcoming Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day will generate around Bt2 billion in circulation for tourism here.

TAT Phuket Office Director Charnchai Duangchit said the number of hotel reservations has risen to about 80 per cent, which is close to the occupancy during the recent New Year’s celebration period, according to local hotel entrepreneurs.

Hotel rooms along the beach received the highest number of bookings.

Mr Charnchai said most tourists coming in February are Chinese, for it is the Chinese New Year holiday and Phuket has for some years been a favourite destination among Chinese travellers.

Apart from the Chinese, other tourists are from Russia, Australia, and several European countries.

Phuket Municipality has prepared a Chinese New Year festival to be held during Feb 15-17. The number of tourists here is expected to be at least 300,000 persons in February.

 


Special Report: Tourists flock to see wild Himalayan cherries in North

Thai tourists have flocked in thousands to appreciate the beauty of wild Himalayan cherry trees, also known as Thai Sakura, which are in full bloom during December to February.

Apart from the cold weather, another reason why thousands and thousands of Thais travel to the North of Thailand in winter is that many kinds of plant in the region look much more beautiful in the coldest season. One plant in particular which is more attractive than the rest is the Wild Himalayan cherry, or Nang Phaya Sua Krong in Thai. It is similar to the Japanese Sakura and is in full bloom in many northern provinces from December to February.

Wild Himalayan cherry trees are usually spotted in Doi Suthep, Mae Taeng, Doi Ang Khang, and Doi Luang Chiang Dao in Chiang Mai, Khun Tan in Nan, Mae Sa Long in Chiang Rai and some parts of Lampang. Generally, they are found on mountain tops, 500-1,500 meters above sea level.

Wild Himalayan cherry is in the same family of plum, peach and cherry blossom. This kind of tree breeds by nature and is found most in China, Japan, and Taiwan. The tree stands 10-15 meters in height and is deciduous.

Why spend huge sum of money going to Japan to take great delight in Sakura in blossom, simply go up north and have an eyeful of the equally beautiful wild Himalayan cherry there. You won't be disappointed.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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Unique Thai Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the “Month of Love”

Suvarnabhumi expects more passengers during Chinese New Year

Thailand to welcome Chinese tourists during Chinese New Year

Trang prepares to host underwater weddings

Border districts in Chiang Mai to develop historical tourism

Phuket expects Bt2 bln in circulation during Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day

Special Report: Tourists flock to see wild Himalayan cherries in North

 

 

 

 



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