Getting revitalised following the historical flooding, Thailand will certainly be an attractive destination during New Year 2012 holidays.
Vietnamese travel agencies have also resumed routes to Thailand after the flooding-caused interruptions. Vietnam Business Forum interviewed Governor Suraphon Svetasreni of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Thu Huyen reports.
Thailand is a favourite destination for Vietnamese tourists. What do you think about the increase of Vietnamese tourist arrivals to Thailand in recent time?
Vietnam is one of the most important markets of the Thai tourism industry. In the first 10 months of 2011, international tourist arrivals to Thailand reached 15.8 million, representing a year on year rise of 25 percent. Of the sum, more than 452,000 arrivals were from Vietnam, an increase of 44 percent over the same period in 2010.
According to statistics of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, up to 68 percent of Vietnamese tourists using full-package tours were many-time visitors and 32 percent were first-time visitors. Five most favourite destinations of Vietnamese visitors are Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Kanchanaburi and Udon Thani. The average stay is 6.2 days.
How has the recent flooding in Thailand affected Vietnamese tourist arrivals to Thailand?
The worst flood in 50 years in Thailand lasted four months, starting from July, following a long rain. It swept through many northern and central cities, claimed at least 562 lives, and destroyed millions of houses and production premises. Thailand is estimated to need nearly US$10 billion for reconstruction.
Up to 97 percent of attractions, recreational centres, entertainment centres and shopping centres were not affected by the flooding. Information about the degree of flooding was blown up, thus raising psychological concerns of travellers in many countries, including Vietnam. The downtown of Bangkok was not flooded. Some swamped areas were caused by de-flooding in major areas and rising waters in Chao Phraya River but the overflow was brought down shortly, often within a day.
The Thai tourism industry incurred a total loss of US$900 million from the historical flooding as the number of visitors dropped by 450,000 - 750,000, or 4 - 6 percent of total arrivals. This considerable loss was resulted from misleading information, which worried travellers. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is making an effort to attract tourists back to Thailand from this December.
Several travel companies in Vietnam have also resumed tours to Thailand. What strategy will TAT adopt to attract tourists in the coming time?
The ancient city of Ayutthaya, about 80 km from Bangkok, is one of major attractions resumed normal activities for the past few days. There is no longer flood and tourists can visit temples there. “Thailand is safe" is the top priority of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
In order to quickly restore the tourism market, Thailand will focus on development strategies on mass media, increase attractive activities in supermarkets, amusement parks and places of interest. In the coming time, TAT will establish "Friends Club" to attract more visitors to Thailand. This club has been developed in Europe and the TAT will develop it in Asia in the near future.
Source : Vccinews