Last month Cha-Am welcomed the arrival of the new Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Phetchaburi office, Khun Akkrawit Thapasit.
We were invited to attend the welcoming party at the Cha-Am Forest Park where Khun Akkravit and the staff of the Cha-Am TAT office proved to be very affable hosts. He’s now a busy man taking steps to meet with tourism industry representatives of the two Provinces within his sphere of responsibility (Ratchaburi and Phetchaburi) so we will need to wait until he takes a breath after his ‘meet and great’ campaign before we can get to know him better. However our thanks for Khun Akkrawit’s responses to our written questions provided below.
1. Could you tell us briefly about your educational and professional backgrounds?
How did you gain experience in the tourism industry? “Basically I have experience about travelling from my family because we like to visit many places in Thailand. When my university offered a course on tourism industry, I was among those students who attended the course there for the first time. During my study at the university, I also participated actively in tourism activities as a chairperson of a local guide club. When I completed the university degree, I passed an exam to work for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s Pattaya office for 19 years. Then, I was appointed the deputy director there before moving to the TAT’s office in Rayong for 2 years. When I worked in Pattaya, I was also a committee member of a tourism association on golf and other recreational activities. After Rayong, I am assigned to work here in Phetchaburi.”
2. What is the main purpose of the TAT office in Cha-Am under your supervision?
“Our office’s main responsibilities include supporting and promoting our work jointly done with public and private sectors to attract more interested tourists to visit Phetchaburi. We are now working hard to encourage them to come here on weekdays and promote golf activities launched in the province.”
3. What do you think is special about Cha-Am in comparison with other tourist attractions in Thailand?
“Cha-Am is located in the central part of Thailand on the Gulf of Thailand side. It provides convenient travel for visitors because the city is only 180 kms. or around 3 hours from Bangkok. Here, it offers tourists various products and services on tourism with perfect natural resources, such as beaches, rivers, forest, mountains, hotels, resorts and topnotched golf courses.
The city is considered the golf destination of the world. Cha-Am also boasts several man-made attractions which symbolize expansion of tourism business by private companies, namely Santorini Park, Camel Republic, Swiss Sheep Farm and The Venezia. All of them attract a lot of visitors every year. The city also has several tourism activities throughout the year, particularly the Phra Nakhon Khiri-Muang Phet Festival, the Shell Eating, Bird Watching and Squid Catching Festival and the annual Cha-Am Hua Hin Golf Tournament. The convenient location and availability to welcome many visitors makes Cha-Am one of the first choice of holiday getaway for Thais and foreigners alike.”
4. In 2015, apart from promoting Bangkok, Phuket, Kho Samui, Chiang Mai and Pattaya, how does TAT plan to promote Cha-Am?
“Since the TAT’s Phetchaburi office is responsible for a marketing campaign in 2 provinces of Phetchaburi and Ratchaburi, in 2015, we have many projects to boost tourism in those areas so that families, working people, the senior, youths and members of the niche market come here more often. The projects aim to reduce the large number of tourists in some of other major tourist areas and promote traveling in low season.
There are 6 projects:
1. The ‘Un…missable cities’ activity that promotes alternative tourism in 10 cities of Thailand including Ratchaburi, the city entitled, City of Art.
2. The project to promote inter-regional tourism and golf in which a golf tournament took place in Phetchaburi, Chanthaburi and Rayong. This will enable golfers to practice the sport and travel more in the three provinces.
3. The project, Bicycle Club Card by TAT Phet, which encourages many bikers to travel to Phetchaburi and Ratchaburi through the sale of the Bicycle Club that offers discounts at many shops and hotels.
4. The project, Phetchaburi: Salt, Sand and Mangrove Forest, that aims to promote a visit along the scenic route in Bang Ta Bun- Ban Laem-Had Chao and Cha-Am. Along the route, there will be many learning activities like the Art of Salt which features salt sculpture, music performances on the beach, local food and games that use salt to play. 5. The learning and traveling project which allows public officers and private company staff to travel and learn by themselves at centres of royal initiatives, local museums and other learning places in Phetchaburi and Ratchaburi. 6. The project to promote traveling on weekdays, with cooperation of hotels, resorts, golf courses, rented cars, restaurants, souvenir shops and spas. This project encourages visitors to travel from Monday to Friday instead of on weekends. It aims to reduce the amount of tourists on weekends, enable local business to earn more during weekdays and increase days for tourism for all year round.”
5. Do you have any new plans for TAT’s Cha- Am office?
“We are determined to launch more events with private companies in the area. These events should provide more access to our target groups who visit Cha-Am. And they should co-occur with beach activities, enable visitors to have fresh seafood here and be a part of social work.”
6. What other tourism activities remain for this year?
“At the end of September which is also the end of Thailand’s national fiscal year of 2014, there is one more activity held by the TAT’s Phetchaburi office; the 13th Hua Hin/Cha-am Golf Festival 2014. This is an annual event in the low season to promote tourism at 10 leading golf courses in Cha-Am and Hua Hin.” Editor’s Note: A description provided has been omitted due to our coverage of this Event). For more TAT Information visit: www.facebook/tatphetfanpage.