Amazing Thailand Loves Incredible India

Thailand as a destination has always impressed me. I have had the chance to visit the country on several occasions and at each and every one of them the plethora of attractions, the excellent hotels and of course the hospitable service providers have dazzled me. I recently attended Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+), Thailand’s largest annual B2B tourism and travel trade event that is now in its 14th year. 378 buyers from 52 countries attended the event. The Thai Hon’ble Minister of Sports and Tourism, H.E Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul was also present at TTM+. In her opening statement at the welcome dinner itself, she acknowledged the importance of India as a source market. She announced: “The Thai tourism industry is set for a promising future thanks to increased arrivals projected from China, India and the ASEAN countries, all of which are our immediate neighbors.” During the event she welcomed me for an exclusive interview.

What were your expectations from TTM 2015?Are you happy with the response?

The main purpose of TTM is to assist small and medium-sized organization get cost-effective marketing exposure in the highly competitive global travel trade market. I think every year the performance of TTM is improving. This year the response has exceeded previous years. Moreover, this year our primary focus has been to attract quality visitors and I think we have achieved that.

We have also unveiled the twelve hidden gems of Thailand. Indian tourists have always been loyal visitors of Thailand and we want to give them and other repeat tourists new places to visit. We are now showcas- ing our inventory of beautiful tier two cities to buyers from Thailand and across the globe.

What are you doing to promote bilateral tourism to India?

We have so many beautiful things to share with India. We can do so much together. Our respective countries have so much to offer and we can promote them together. Even something as simple as Henna, I know it is a part of Indian heritage and even Thai people love Henna. We can mix and match so many things. Cross-cultural exchange is important and we welcome it. TTM is the time we do some activities to promote bilateral tourism. Like TAT and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office have been jointly promoting destinations linking Thailand’s bordering provinces to three countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. India and Thailand need to form an alliance and do joint promotions for tourism. I believe, currently the eyes of the world are on this region, not only in terms of business but also art, culture and history. Tourism is growing according to UNWTO, which forecasts a growth of between 3% and 4% in international tourist arrivals in 2015 itself. I want that when they think of this part of the world, they think of us and if we work together we can accomplish this more easily.

You had come to launch the ‘Discover Thainess’ campaign in Mumbai. What is the goal of this campaign? How has the response been so far, particularly from the Indian market?

I would like to begin by thanking my Indian friends. You have proven to be very good friends of Thailand. You are kind enough to always come to us and we love to welcome you. You already know Thailand well and you enjoy so many things about it. You chose it as a wedding destination, a family destination, a leisure destination; you enjoy the culinary experiences and so much more. The primary idea behind the ‘Discover Thainess’ campaign has been to bring out more of us that you already know and highlight our culture. Of course, we have also introduced some new activities and new destinations so even when you keep coming back there are always more and more things for you to do. We want you to always be intrigued.

The campaign has been very promising within Thailand and amongst international travellers. There is so much to attract tourists from Thai food, Thai culture and Thai massage to Thai boxing and Thai dance. Thailand has everything for everyone and we are ready and eager to cater to you.

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