Published on : Monday, January 20, 2014
Visitor arrivals from the ASEAN countries to Thailand are expected to grow further as a result of strong Thai participation in the 33rd ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) now under way in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia between 16 – 23 January 2014.
The annual gathering of high-level ASEAN tourism public and private sector officials, airlines and hundreds of buyers and sellers of ASEAN tourism products is designed to showcase the best of ASEAN and implement plans and strategies for the future.
The event rotates annually on an alphabetical basis through the ten member countries of ASEAN – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Bearing the theme, “ASEAN – Advancing Tourism Together”, this year’s ATF comes just one year before the 2015 target for implementation of the integrated ASEAN Economic Community blueprint, which includes policies designed to promote seamless travel, trade and transportation between the 650 million people of the region.
In 2013, a total of 7.39 million of Thailand’s total visitor arrivals came from the ASEAN countries, up 27.6% over 2013 and a market share of 28%. Malaysia topped the list with 2.99 million arrivals (+17.29%), followed by Lao PDR 1.10 million arrivals (+13.33%). Lao PDR has now become the seventh country to generate more than one million annual arrivals in 2013.
All the other ASEAN markets also showed strong growth: Singapore 936,477 (+12.66%), Vietnam 787,301 (+27.26%), Indonesia 589,079 (+31.54%), Cambodia 468,366 (+10.56%), Philippines 326,245 (+12.67%), Myanmar 172,374 (+33.23%), and Brunei 14,304 (+36.76%).
In 2014, TAT is projecting 7.64 million ASEAN arrivals.
Four major events are important for Thailand at the ATF this year:
1) ASEAN NTOs and Ministers Meetings
These are designed to discuss progress on implementing the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP 2011-2015) including marketing and communications (TAT is Chairman of the Committee), product development, quality tourism, human resources development and integration. ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) will also be meeting with their counterparts in China, Japan, Korea, India, Russia and, for the first time, Brazil, to discuss bilateral tourism flows.
2) ASEAN Tourism Exchange (TRAVEX)
The buyer-and-seller trade show, called the TRAVEX, will be held between 21 -23 January, 2014, at the Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching. About 500 sellers, 500 buyers and 100 media are expected to attend. This year, the Thai contingent comprises 80 private sector companies, including 19 companies registered through TAT. The covering theme is presenting “Amazing Thailand, It begins with the people…”
3) Pattaya Variety Night
Featuring the popular Alcazar Show and an energetic musical performance, this late night function is being hosted by the Chon Buri Provincial Administrative Organisation, Pattaya City, TAT Pattaya Office, and TTG Asia on 22 January, 2014, from 2100-2400 hrs, at the Hilton Kuching Hotel.
4) Media Briefing
On 22 January, 2014, Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand will present a Thailand media briefing at the Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching. He will provide an update of the Thai tourism situation including both an update of new Thai tourism products and services as well as a clarification of the tourism impact of the political situation in Thailand.
Overall, the factors that will drive further growth in ASEAN visitor arrivals to Thailand are well in place. The fact that the ATF is being held for the first time in Kuching will also set the stage for possible resumption of direct flights between Kuching and Thailand, which will give another impetus to the cause of intra-ASEAN travel.
Tags: Destination News