Published on : Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Isra Stapanaseth, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, New Delhi interacts with Travel And Tour World at the Amazing Thailand Roadshow to India 2018 at the ITC Sonar.
He shares an interesting insight about the immensely dynamic tourism potential of Thailand, particularly its capital city Bangkok along with the evergreen appeal of indigenous Thai gastronomic trait. He goes ahead to discuss significance of Chiang Mai and other parts of Thailand as emerging MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition) industry luring corporate travellers from across the globe.
Travel And Tour World: ‘Go Local’ project was launched earlier this year to spread the benefit of local tourism across local communities nationwide. How has the response been so far?
Isra Stapanaseth: We understand the importance of promoting Thailand in terms of sustainable tourism. Also, we ensure that local communities can share the wisdom, knowledge and through whoever they are receiving it from, in their daily way of life, they remember that they are giving knowledge to young people through this approach. Through community based tourism, we have to know how to leverage their daily normal life and tourists need to be aware of the local lifestyle of people, so they take travellers around the village by bicycle, to help tourists get a good exercise. Therefore it is better for tourists, and regional communities thus encourage travellers to explore further.
Travel And Tour World: Thailand grabbed the 10th spot for global visitation by UNWTO (World Tourism Organization). What new initiatives have you planned for 2018 and for the next five years?
Isra Stapanaseth: We have to keep working on family projects to promote various mediums to motivate tourists to visit their tier two cities. Indians have a great potential in terms of outbound tourists to Thailand and many of them they have never been to Thailand before.
Indians boast of 65 million passport holders and therefore have potential to travel overseas, so we eager to show them our product and service, especially to those who have not been to capital of Thailand and our cities. Many Indians are yet to explore our wedding segment. Certain places of Thailand are famous for destination wedding and that is why Indians love to go Thailand to savour destination wedding, sunsets, and indulge in intense fun and merriment in destinations like Pattaya, Phuket and much more.
Travel And Tour World: How do you plan to attract investors into Thailand’s tourism sector?
Isra Stapanaseth: Thailand has special policies and there are many special offers for planning that are supervised by the Thai trade department, Ministry of Commerce, and they also have offices pan-India as well.
Travel And Tour World: 2018 is Year of Adventure Travel and Thailand is already having lot of adventure activities, so what are the new additions?
Isra Stapanaseth: We can do some promoting activities that are suitable for Indian markets. We call it soft adventures, for instance sea activities. For younger ones, certain interesting activities like ziplining and related aquatic sports activities and golf tourism can go a long way in catering to adventure enthusiasts.
Travel And Tour World: Single-use plastic at national parks was recently banned. What steps do you plan to take to reduce impact on nature due to increased tourism?
Isra Stapanaseth: Starting from beaches, we are planning to expand our environment-friendly activities to various other parts of Thailand, particularly ‘zero plastic’ policy very soon we are going to implement steps in that direction.
Travel And Tour World: What expectations do you have from Amazing Thailand roadshow in Kolkata?
Isra Stapanaseth: Sellers from Thailand and buyers can enjoy great networking facilities at this event and we can get to know each other and sellers. Moreover, buyers and media can come together thanks to this platform for relationship building. Indians like to see the sellers more and we can have really good coordination and we come together, representing the Thailand Tourism Board.
Travel And Tour World: Can you tell us about some exciting thrills for millennials in Thailand, particularly beaches, nightlife etc. What are the top trending activities visitors spending seven days in Thailand can indulge in?
Isra Stapanaseth: Shopping is famous in our country and we are receiving mainly family tourists, so for them we have theme parks, after all we are known as ‘shopping paradise’. Also, we have excellent Thai food, and a vibrant nightlife and our achievements can be the golf tourism in Thailand. We have over 200 golf courses in Thailand and still, we have a lot to explore and experience.
Travel And Tour World: Kindly elaborate the international tourist arrivals in Thailand in January to July 2018 and compare it with the same period of 2017.
Isra Stapanaseth: In 2017 as many as 35.48 million international tourists had visited Thailand and between January to July 2018 international tourist arrivals have increased to 22 million, marking a rise of 11 percent.
Travel And Tour World: Can you tell us something about MICE potential of Thailand how does it attract corporate tourists there? Are there any new convention centres coming up in Thailand.
Isra Stapanaseth: According to CAPA research, mainly people travel for business and it comprises 26 percent of all outbound trips. As for MICE sector we have agency called TCEB (Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau) and they also have a branch office in India so they are working. Furthermore, they have incentive trips and I think they enjoy a lot of company incentives provided to their employees to visit Thailand.
Mainly we have good convention centres in Bangkok and many meetings venues in Chiang Mai. Then we have one in Pattaya, Phuket, Khon Kaen, for this is main region catering to MICE groups. Mainly south, north Bangkok, north-eastern and east coast of Thailand are significant MICE destinations.
Travel And Tour World: Can you please talk about gastronomy tourism sector in Thailand?
Isra Stapanaseth: Thailand promotes gastronomy to a great extent and we also try to to establish a firm link that connects Indian market, we have ‘roti’, ‘naan’ and plain curry. So we have to raise awareness by creating strong marketing and even through the media, in fact that is how we are connecting thanks Thai Airways and Thai festivals. Also, we organise food walks to certain places like Phuket, Bangkok that people love to explore, particularly the people of West Bengal.