The Thai tourism industry will always remain a “good friend” of the German travel trade and both must continue to work together on the basis of a win-win formula that benefits both the travellers and the destination, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said here last week.
Speaking at a networking lunch attended by 140 members of the German and European travel trade and media as well as Thailand’s strategic partners at the ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show, Mrs. Kobkarn said, “We all realise the current economic impact which has affected all of us. We believe tourists from Europe still take holidays, but with better financial planning. With this in mind, Thailand remains the best value-for-money destination in Asia for European and German visitors, both in terms of money and experience.
“We would like to emphasise that Thailand will continue to be your good friend, especially during this time. We are here at the ITB 2015 to enhance the cooperation and partnership with you all in order to lead us out of the current situation.”
Formally launching the “2015 Discover Thailand” campaign in Germany, Mrs. Kobkarn proceeded to give the invited guests a comprehensive overview of the many new improvements in the Thai tourism products and services, Thailand’s increased connectivity with the neighbouring ASEAN countries, and how the “Thainess” campaign will help maintain the kingdom’s image and competitive advantage.
She said, “Thailand has faced a very challenging 2014, but I am glad to report that visitor arrivals to Thailand totalled 24,779,768. A turnaround in the fourth quarter of 2014 has gained strength, and the significant growths have continued in January and February 2015.”
“In 2015, TAT has set the target of 28 million international visitors generating an estimated 36.4 billion Euros (1.35 trillion Baht).”
Held between 4-8 March, 2015, this year’s ITB Berlin featured a presence by 106 Thai tourism operators. More than 180 countries participated this year, making it even more important to distinguish Thailand’s competitive presence and global brand image.
Specially designed to present a distinctive atmosphere of “Thainess,” the Thai pavilion included a number of cultural shows to enhance the telegenic impact of the promotion campaign.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said, “Thailand’s Pavilion was designed and decorated in a modern style but still exuded a unique “Thainess” character. It also featured cultural shows and Thai spa and massage demonstrations.”
Also at the ITB Berlin 2015, Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana presided over a ceremony to present “Thainess Awards 2015” to three cultural ambassadors in Germany for their dedication and commitment to promoting Thailand and its culture.
The “Thainess” campaign is designed to emphasise the priceless treasures of Thailand, which give Thainess its charm and make Thais unique as a people, society and culture. The marketing messages highlight the concept of Creative Tourism under which tourists can experience the Thai way of life, Thai culture and hands-on Thai activities; such as, Thai boxing, Thai massage, Thai cooking, and Thai classical dance.
This year’s niche-market targets are Wedding and Honeymoons, Green Tourism, Gastronomy Tourism, Shopping, and Sports Tourism. Special events were staged to promote the increasingly popular bicycle tours, Muay Thai or Thai boxing, yacht cruises and night cruises.
Arrivals from Europe have historically played a major role in the development of Thai tourism. In 2014, European visitor arrivals totalled 6.15 million, generating 11.45 billion Euros (420.86 billion Baht).
Germany is Thailand’s third highest source market from Europe. In 2014, Thailand welcomed 717,631 German visitors, a small decline from 2013 (-2.7%).
In 2013, German visitors had an average length of stay of 17.8 days and daily expenditure per person of 100 Euros (3,710 Baht). This was one of the highest average lengths of stay of all nationalities. Cumulatively, German visitors generated tourism income of 1.29 billion Euros (47.87 billion Baht).
After the ITB Berlin, TAT organised a special promotional roadshow in France covering Lyon, Marseille, and Nice from 10-12 March, 2015, in order to expand the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign into new markets, specifically the secondary cities of Europe