The news comes as Yu-Chen Wang, the 34 millionth arrival to the Kingdom in 2017, was named “Thailand’s Luckiest Visitor” upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, last Thursday (Dec 21), welcomed by private sector tourism industry representatives and senior executives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
Tanes Petsuwan, the TAT’s Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications, said 2017 has been an exceptionally good year for Thailand, which is ready to welcome the New Year with a range of exciting tourism events and activities under the “action-packed” Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018.
“We are grateful to Ms Wang as well as millions of other visitors for making Thailand their preferred destination. The TAT is committed to ensuring their visits are always memorable, and offer them the chance to ‘Open to the New Shades’ of tourism experiences each time they visit the Kingdom,” Mr Tanes said.
That same day, the number of Americans visiting Thailand annually hit the one-million mark with the arrival of Nathaniel Alexander Way, a pharmaceutical scientist from Santa Babara, California, setting a new record for Thailand’s No 1 source market from the Americas Region, where the TAT operates two offices in New York and Los Angeles.
Mr Way arrived in Bangkok with his honeymoon bride late in the morning on EVA Air’s Flight BR67 from Taipei, Taiwan. He travelled to Thailand on a 10-day honeymoon, with an itinerary focussing on nature and Thai local experiences in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ao Nang in Krabi and Khao Sok in Surat Thani, north of Phuket.
“This latest Thai tourism news is beyond reporting statistical numbers, but is a reflection of TAT’s commitment and ongoing tireless effort to lift the ‘Amazing Thailand’ brand awareness in the USA market,” Mr Tanes said.
“The US has been among Thailand’s most important markets since the Kingdom began its tourism promotion. The welcoming of the one millionth American tourist for 2017, the first time ever for Thailand, marks a step forward for the Thai tourism industry in expanding the Americas market and in addition, the offering of endless Thai local experiences.”
The TAT New York and Los Angeles Offices have been proactive in enhancing the awareness of Thailand as a “preferred destination” for the Americans, especially honeymooners and luxury travellers. Among the activities have included the sponsorships for the filming of TV series, reality programmes and food shows in Thailand, including The Bachelor in 2013 and The Bachelorette in 2011. Another highlighted effort is a partnership with Virtuoso promoting the Kingdom as a honeymoon destination.
For 2018, TAT will continue its effort to spotlight Thailand as a honeymoon and luxury travel destination for American travellers, promoting luxury products, culture, beaches, Thai cuisine, soft adventures, local experience tours, Muay Thai lessons, and health and wellness trips, under the TAT’s latest “Open to the New Shades” campaign, launched in Paris last Wednesday (Dec 20).
The campaign will reflect TAT’s three new marketing directions for 2018, that focuses on new markets, new segmentations and new products.
The drive will be customised to accommodate every single target segment and market; such as, luxury, weddings and honeymoons, female travellers, families and Gen Y, reported the TAT in a release.
“The Kingdom is rich with a plethora of tourism products that reflects the ‘Open to the New Shades of Thailand’ concept; such as, gastronomy, nature/beach, arts and crafts, culture and lifestyle,” Mr Tanes explained.
“TAT in cooperation with Le Cordon Bleu Paris highlights the world-famous Thai gastronomy to the delight of the French media to ensure the French market better understands the new marketing concept.” he added.
At the launch, as well as a range of Thai dishes, snacks and beverages, the popular Som Tam Papaya Salad (ranked sixth in CNN Travel World’s 50 Best Foods list) also delighted guests with its spicy, salty, sour and sweet taste, reported the TAT.
Guests also had the chance to learn how to prepare their own Som Tam, personally instructed by Chef Fabrice Danniel, assistant culinary arts director and head of the Le Cordon Bleu Pastry Department.
As well as the French market, all TAT overseas offices are currently working with partners and tour operators to convert the new marketing concept into substantial sales targeted at specific customer segments.
France is the fourth largest European market for Thailand. From January to October this year, Thailand welcomed 600,000 French visitors.