I was in Thailand for a week in July and I got to attend an event where the Thai Naval chief gave a message to the media from around the world when he said ‘ Travel and Tourism in Thailand are not just about the economy but about creating happiness. Happiness for Thai people and for the visitors’. Mega media convention happened on 22nd floor of the gran
d mall in the city center. I had earlier attended a similar convention in Malaysia last year, so let me share what I liked about Thailand convention:
- Instead of huge media kits they gave us a simple wrist bands in bright colors with the theme logo with a pen drive embedded in it. Pen drive contains all the information required along with high resolution pictures of important destinations in Thailand. I loved this idea, as on most such trips people whine while carrying loads of paper – compare it to carrying a small wrist band that also acts like a friendship band.
- The message from the government was simple and delivered in matter of minutes. They wanted to give a message that it is perfectly safe to travel in Thailand and tourists are welcome while enticing the audience with a lovely film on its known and newer destinations. This was followed by a simple dance performance where dancers emerged from the audience and then danced against the beautiful pictures displayed on the screen.
- There were ample food and drinks to entertain the guests who had come from all corners of the world. I was happy to see a table of Indian Vegetarian food that included of all things Samosa and Hariyala Kababs.
- At the ground level of the same venue was a street festival that included a concert and a parade. The part of parade I saw had Miss Thailand and other beauty pageant winners going through the excited crowds on vintage open cars and some group of musicians.
- The media convention was coupled with Familiarization trips and I got to see the western Thailand with regions like Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin. Read more about my travels on my travel blog.
We understand that due to recent curfew situations in the country there was a need to give a strong message to the world community that need not change their travel plans to visit Thailand. Thailand has a thriving economy around tourism and its share in GDP is around 17%. Bangkok constantly features in the top most visited cities in the world and Suvarnbhumi Airport is among the most geotagged airports in the world.
Thailand has worked on tourism products that include popular beaches for different categories of travelers, shopping destinations that range from street markets, night markets to high end mag malls, ancient archeological sites and cities and Budhhist temples. It also markets its local lifestyle very well by making things like floating markets a tourist spectacle. Though there is another kind of tourism that the country is famous for and I am not sure if they are making any efforts to move away from that image or not – or it is a not stated part of their promotion.
I think there are many things that other regions that are not as strong in tourism can learn from Thailand. One key success factor of their tourism is a intense local flavor that you can not miss irrespective of whether you are in a plush place in Bangkok or in a remote corner of the country. Many destination in a intent to replicate play around with the local ethos and fail, for a tourist comes to see what you have, not what can see back home or in any city.