Pattaya, the 25th of April 2009 [PDN]: A recent article in the Bangkok Post, qupting Sommart Khunset, Deputy Secretary-General of the Federation of Thai Industries, declared “Physical attacks on a minister and VIP guards, in particular, have portrayed an image of an uncivilised country, which will take a very long time to recover.” After the issuance of travel warnings to Thailand by Australia, China, France, Britain, South Korea, and the U.S., Kongkrit Hiranyakit, Chairman of the Tourism Council of Thailand, predicted the overall impact of the Bangkok airport closures and the recent turmoil, will cost tourism Bt200 billion and cause 200,000 job losses in the hospitality and travel industries.
Mindful of the urgency to restore Thailand’s good name, TAT is issuing daily updates on its website to assure tourists and others that the situation in the capital and resorts is back to normal. TAT is also going to upload pictures of happy foreign travellers in Thailand to YouTube as one of its remedial measures, other measures planned for the immediate future include overseas road-shows, the first to Macao and the instituting of better communications, generally.
Pattaya, always prone to languishing in the low season has had the added spur of the need to counteract the impact of the Royal Cliff fiasco, when Red-Shirt protesters ran riot through the hotel, forcing PM Abhisit to evacuate ASEAN leaders. Free hotel rooms for 6 months from May 1 to October 31 will be one of the most attractive tourist incentives. Virtually all the operators of Pattaya’s 20,000 hotel rooms are expected to support the campaign. Hotels are not the only ones to jump on the ‘Welcome Back The Tourist Campaign’ bandwagon, restaurants and shopping malls will also be offering discounts of up to 50%.
Pattaya is also a major MICE centre and the recent bad publicity is bound to affect the resort in this respect. However, Chatchawal Supachayanont, President of the Eastern Chapter of the Thai Hotels Association had this to say about the promotional concern:
“With this campaign, we hope tourists and meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (Mice) activities will be lured back to Pattaya again and tourism sentiment will improve as well.”
This is apparently the first time ever that all the facets of the hospitality and tourism sector in Pattaya have spoken with a unified voice, so to speak. The city will also be helped by the DASTA initiative recently announced, ( see the Metamorphosis of Pattaya) whereby the go ahead has been given to radically improve the city’s infrastructure, ecology and facilities to truly transform it into a world-class destination. PM Abhisit’s forthcoming visits abroad to engender support for the ailing tourism industry will also help Pattaya in this respect.
|Thailand to relaunch tourism promotion campaigns in China|
|BANGKOK, April 22 – A Thai tourism delegation will travel to China on Sunday to relaunch tourism campaigns in that country after many Chinese who planned fashionable holiday weddings Thailand’s resorts cancelled their ceremonies due to the recent violence, according to Weerasak Kowsurat, board chairman of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), on Wednesday.
Mr. Weerasak said many Chinese sweethearts who planned a mass wedding celebration at a garden resort near Pattaya had cancelled their plans and their journeys to Thailand following anti-government demonstrations in Pattaya and violence in Bangkok earlier this month.
He said the negative impact would continue for a long time and it would discourage tourists from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong from visiting Thailand as well.
The Thai delegation, to be led by Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Virachai Virameteekul, will leave for China this Sunday, said Mr. Weerasak, adding that he had suggested Thai tourism operators to target penetration of Indonesian, Indian, Israeli and Iranian markets because the consuming public retains high purchasing power and are not much concerned about Thailand’s politics.
The Thai-Chinese Tour Operators Association said it is normal now for thousands of Chinese tourists to cancel their trips to Thailand on a daily basis, but the association affirmed that it expected that more Chinese tourists would visit Thailand after a state of emergency decree imposed in Bangkok and five neighbouring provinces is lifted.