I know most of you would like to get an update of what happened in Thailand during the airport closure and how we have recovered from this unprecedented crisis. Today, we can confidently say that Amazing Thailand is making an amazing recovery and is back in business.
The closure of Thailand’s main gateway airport at Suvarnabhumi between November 25, 2008 to December 3, 2008 was a completely unforeseen and unpredictable event caused by a domestic political dispute. The entire Thai tourism industry was mobilised to help the tourists, which became a top priority.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), together with the entire private sector provided accommodation, transportation, and meals.
Some emergency flights were operated from other airports, and city terminals were established for tourists to undergo early check-in procedures. Once the all-clear was declared, the entire aviation industry moved expeditiously and urgently to get the airport open again and help visitors return home to their loved ones.
After the reopening of the airports, the recovery in visitor arrivals was almost instantaneous. This is clear proof of the high levels of confidence that visitors have in the Kingdom of Thailand, the Thai people and the Thai tourism industry.
Now a new Thai government has been formed. Furthermore, the new Minister of Tourism and Sports, His Excellency Mr. Chumpol Silpa-archa, has pledged immediately to expedite the recovery of tourism. He will work with other ministers to ensure the necessary funding and infrastructure support.
The industry’s three-point recovery plan for 2009 includes:
1) Emergency measures to restore visitor confidence,
2) Policy measures to promote more domestic travel and international visitor arrivals, and
3) Tactical marketing measures which include special campaigns, especially via online marketing.
Our campaigns will focus on major markets where we will work with industry partners to launch special packages, advertise in local media, promote the Amazing Value Card and Coupon, organize media trips to Thailand, encourage overseas Thai residents to visit Thailand, and bring back seminars and exhibitions.
One of the key areas is the recovery of the domestic market. In times of crisis, we have always found that the Thai people turn out big time to help their fellow citizens. We are boosting our public relations, marketing and promotional activities in the domestic market in order to help us tide over the projected shortfall in international visitors.
We are also working closely with the private sector to launch special packages in both the international and domestic markets, for example:
1. One Price All Destinations package; Eg. 40 Boutique hotels has offered 2,000 baht nett from January – March, 2009. Moreover, the Banyan Tree in Bangkok and Phuket provides special offer of the “Thailand Smiles Again Package”: Buy 1 Get 1 Free for 1,000 rooms or during 8-31 January, 2009.
2. Thailand Super Deal portal website: You can find Thailand’s best deal packages from hotels, tour operators, airlines, shopping centres, etc.
Please check out: http://www.tourismthailand.org, and
We are also organising roadshows abroad and bringing media / travel agents fam trips, especially from major markets; such as, China, Japan, and the Middle East.
REVISED ARRIVAL PROJECTIONS
We are expecting that final figures for 2008 will show a total of 14.3 million arrivals, which will be about the same as 2007. Although arrivals are projected to improve in the first quarter of 2009, there will definitely be lower arrivals than in the first quarter of 2008. However, we project an improvement in the second quarter of 2009. We target the international visitor arrivals in 2009 at about 14 million, again depending on extra budget from the government, as well as, the local, regional, and global situation. We target to receive international revenue of 505 billion baht (35 baht = US$1).
Tourism Authority of Thailand