Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT’s Governor, made the observations at the recent Pacific Asia Travel Association Sustainable Tourism Conference and Adventure Travel Mart held in Chiang Rai. He called for a decisive shift to quality tourism, by upgrading tourist destinations and encouraging travellers to explore secondary destinations.
Fielding the question of airline connectivity, he said TAT and the Airports of Thailand were working hand-in-hand to improve connectivity to other cities in ASEAN. “For example, the challenge is how to connect Bagan and Mandalay in Myanmar and Luang Prabang in Lao PDR. to Chiang Rai, a destination that has cultural and heritage links and shares borders with both countries.”
TAT has taken up the connectivity issue as part of the strategy to disperse travel beyond popular destinations. It hopes to achieve a sustainable tourism model that will support communities and safeguard the environment.
The highly successful 12 Hidden Gems campaign identified secondary destinations that can be used to disperse tourism. This year the scope of the campaign has been extended to include another 12 destinations that will also appeal to adventure travelers.
Chiang Rai was identified as one of the key destinations to campaign for more direct flights from neighbouring countries by offering incentives and marketing support to airlines prepared to commit resources to Thailand’s Far North.
Just days before the conference, Thai AirAsia announced it would introduce the first direct flight from Chiang Rai to Hat Yai in South Thailand, effective 1 April. At the main conference session, highlights from the Adventure Tourism Development Index 2015 Report indicated the strengths of Thailand’s adventure travel appeal.
Research showed it performed on par with China and India, while excelling in adventure travel infrastructure, sustainable development polices and entrepreneurial spirit.
An Adventure Travel Trade Association survey indicated that four out of every 10 travellers would engage in some form of adventure travel. The market had an estimated value of USD265 billion in 2012, growing 65% from a base of USD89 billion in 2009.
The survey also underscored the role of food tourism in the adventure travel mix. Thailand achieved a high score, listed alongside Italy, France, Spain and India as the most requested destinations for food and adventure travel.
The PATA Sustainable Tourism and Adventure Travel Mart packed presentations by 20 speakers from 10 countries into the one-day conference. The following day, the Mart served as a business platform for 44 sellers and 32 international buyers. TAT invited 11 international travel bloggers to cover the event and explore Chiang Rai province.
International Public Relations Division
Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48
Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419
E-mail: [email protected]
Facebook: TAT Newsroom
Twitter: TAT Newsroom