Skal-PATA Christmas Event a Big Hit in Bangkok

ajwood | eTurboNews | eTN
Photo courtesy of Andrew J. Wood

I had the honor and privilege to address the much-anticipated annual SKÅL/PATA CHRISTMAS lunch. The event was sold out and was FULLY booked. The two associations worked hand-in-hand to put on a show to be proud of. The teams did a great job in the annual landmark event to raise charity contributions for needy causes.

The event took place at the Okura Prestige Hotel.  Due to social distancing the ballroom was limited to 125 pax and drinks were served at the roof top Restaurant and Bar with stunning views of Bangkok Metropolis.

The new Bangkok President James Thurlby and his team working with PATA Thailand’s dream team of Ben Montgomery and Khun Parichart Suntararak did an outstanding job.

My short address during the lunch is reproduced here in full:

Distinguished Guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen,

Firstly let me say it is good to see you all here TODAY.

Your great turnout is a remarkable achievement not only for the organizing committee to have worked through a myriad of challenges and restrictions but also it is wonderful to see the camaraderie and support of the  entire travel and tourism industry who have turned out in such numbers.

Winston Churchill famously said:

“Never was SO much owned by SO many to SO few.”

This aptly describes the work of the 4-man Christmas committee of Tom Sorensen, Ben Montgomery, Michael Bamberg and Khun Parichat who have met every Friday since June!

To the regular monthly sponsors Paulaner Beer, Serenity Wines Asia, CoffeeWORKS, and Move Ahead Media and all the Christmas sponsors, let me add my own big thank you!

I need not remind you that our industry has never had such a tumultuous past 2 years EVER.

Whatever happens next is largely up to us.

Our government in Thailand has put up the framework and barriers to protect us from Covid. It is what we do next that will seal the fate of the industry we call work.

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PATA’S Ben Montgomery shares a Christmas moment with  friend’s and Skålleagues Andrew Wood and Pichai Visutriratana

Travel and tourism WILL restart and we WILL recover.

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The elegant ballroom of the Okura Prestige

As to when? It is never good in the new Covid-tainted world to guess – we have been wrong so many times before. It would be unrealistic however to think that International  travel will change dramatically in the short term.

Domestically however is another story. Last week I was in Phuket – my hotel was full.

This week on Sunday I had a quick business trip to Pattaya. On the way home in the early evening on HIGHWAY 7, the motorway service station was full too, packed as Bangkokians returned home from a long weekend. I had never seen it busier and I have travelled that route since the motorway first opened.

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PATA and Skål members pose before lunch
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Yes the government has to reduce travel restrictions and I am confident that will eventually happen. Then we have to mobilize and re-market Thailand with a vengeance.

TAT‘s excellent VISIT THAILAND YEAR 2022 and AMAZING NEW CHAPTERS promotion will be a good spring board.

Our industry has met adversity full-on in the past. We will do so again. We have risen before and we will do so again.

The collective brains, will power, and commitment to succeed present today in this room will once again let us lift up our heads with pride.

To once again rebuild our businesses and to rebuild our teams. We may be down, but most certainly we are not OUT.

Thank you all for your support today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your turkey awaits…

In closing let me wish you, your families and friends Seasons Greetings, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Andrew J. Wood - eTN Thailand

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