The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar, together with Bangkok Airways have announced the launch of the Mega Joint Familiarization Trip between Thailand and Myanmar project with an objective of promoting tourism products and services in Thailand and Myanmar to long-haul European and US travelers. This is especially being conducted as the two neighbors move towards full implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC at the end of this year.
Marking the launch of the bilateral tourism cooperation is the Thailand – Myanmar mega joint familiarisation trip from 14-21 May, 2015, that brings more than 50 tour operators and media from the European countries, including the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, France, Italy, UAE, and Israel as well as the US particularly from Los Angeles and New York and Canada to experience first-hand the diversity of products and services in the two ASEAN nations.
H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports said, “This joint fam trip activity is one of our starting initiatives to promote the tourism growth of ASEAN. Many parts of ASEAN have never really been opened to the eyes of the world before, and by forming bilateral tourism cooperation with our ASEAN friends, we will be able to open up unseen, untapped, beautiful tourism destinations altogether. As such, international tourists who come to visit Thailand will also be able to extend their vacation to explore the charming culture and various world-renowned tourist attractions in our neighbouring countries.”
The fam trip comprises a product briefing and welcome reception in Chiang Mai, Thailand on 14 May, followed by fam trips to main destinations in the two countries, including Mandalay, Bagan, Nay Pyi Taw and Bangkok from 15-21 May. Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand has been chosen as the host city for this joint fam trip due to its readiness as the best location among the AEC including the modern infrastructure, easy accessibility, variety of tourism products, and international standards of service.
Bangkok Airways, the strategic partner of this Thailand – Myanmar Joint Fam Trip, currently links Chiang Mai with Yangon and Mandalay in Myanmar. Meanwhile, a number of local and international airlines are operating daily direct services between Chiang Mai and domestic and regional destinations.
In addition to the joint fam trip, the bilateral tourism cooperation between Thailand and Myanmar will also extend to the joint tourism marketing activities at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand and the ITB 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s Executive Director Europe, Africa and Middle East Region said, “With the launch of the AEC, we will see unity as well as the opening up of many opportunities among the 10-member countries in various aspects including tourism. TAT already maintains strong regional tourism cooperation with our neighbouring countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, and is now actively promoting AEC tourism in two dimensions, which are ASEAN for ASEAN and ASEAN for all.”
The Thailand – Myanmar Joint Fam Trip comes under the ‘ASEAN for all’ dimension. In the initial stage, Thailand has made a bilateral agreement with Myanmar, and is set to forming tourism cooperation with other ASEAN neighbours.
Mr. Tanes said, “This bilateral tourism promotion will create a win-win situation for both countries. It will also allow us to tap the potential of the many long holiday weekends to attract short-stay but high-spending traffic from the neighbouring countries, which are all within three to four hours flying time of each other, similar to European countries.”
Under the ASEAN for ASEAN and ASEAN for all, TAT has outlined some possibilities for connections, including Thailand – Myanmar (connecting to Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Nay Pyi Taw; Thailand – Cambodia (connecting to Angkor Wat); and Thailand – Lao PDR (connecting to Luang Prabang).