The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has highlighted Thailand’s “unbeatable geographic location” at the heart of ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region” as a major reason why visitor arrivals will continue to grow strongly in the years ahead.
Mr. Tanes Petsuwan (above picture), TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, said: “Thailand has the best connections within the entire region. There are approximately 30 overland border checkpoints open for travel by international visitors with Cambodia, Lao PDR., Myanmar and Malaysia, as well as four Friendship Bridges with Lao PDR., and one with Myanmar with more being planned. “The Asian Highway is growing rapidly and will provide extensive road connectivity beyond the neighbouring countries to both China and India. Rail travel is going to be the next generation of land transport infrastructure to emerge, with high-speed links now in the design and planning stage.”
Mr. Tanes noted that Thailand’s international airports serve 135 scheduled and chartered airlines. Low-cost airlines from Vietnam, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong are boosting their frequencies to Bangkok as well as other popular tourism destinations; such as, Phuket and Chiang Mai. He added: “Phuket, Pattaya and Samui are now home to a number of cruise and yachting marinas. Ferry connectivity is growing with Malaysia and will grow in future with Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar.”
To build on this expansion, TAT has launched a new “Experience Thailand and More” pocketbook, focusing on four key experiences that enhance its ASEAN Connectivity initiative with new destination combinations. These routes include: A Journey to ASEAN Ancient Kingdom’, to promote Northern Thailand as a linkage to the historic trails in the North of ASEAN ‘ASEAN Peranakan and Nature Trail, which links the Andaman coastal cities while highlighting Phuket’s distinctive Peranakan culture and distinctive gastronomic scene ‘Mekong Active Adventure Trail’ that combines the Northeast (Isan) with Cambodia. The trail showcases Buri Ram as the sports city and is ideal for travellers who love combining sports with adventure travel experiences ‘ASEAN World-Class Culinary and Heritage Cities’ highlights culinary travel experiences in major and unique cities of Central Region provinces in Thailand, along with those in Malaysia, and Singapore. The route focuses on food culture, local cuisine, world-class restaurants and top things to do in the featured cities with Bangkok as the world’s gastronomic hub The ASEAN countries are collectively Thailand’s largest visitor source market in Asia. Thailand welcomed more than 9 million ASEAN visitors in 2017, with Malaysia being the largest market followed by Lao PDR. and Singapore. Mr. Tanes stressed that Chiang Mai is also benefitting from convenient air access. In 2017, more than 18,000 international flights utilised Chiang Mai International Airport. In December 2017, Qatar Airways’ launched a direct non-stop service from Doha to Chiang Mai. He said that Thailand crossed the 35 million visitor arrivals mark in 2017, and is anticipating tourism earnings from international tourists of 53 billion US dollars. For 2018, TAT has set a growth target of eight percent in tourism revenue from the international market, he said.