The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) participated in the International Travel Expo (ITE) 2014 at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during 11-13 September, 2014.
Marking its 10th anniversary this year, the ITE was held under the theme of “5 Countries – 1 Destination”, a reference to the combined tourism potential of Vietnam, Thailand, Lao PDR., Cambodia and Myanmar, which are working closely together under the umbrella of the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Within two-hours flying time from Thailand, with plenty of airline connections and a visa-free policy, Vietnam is a rapidly emerging source market with huge potential for Thailand, especially in the build-up to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
TAT Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said, “With intra-ASEAN travel set to take off after the AEC, we anticipate that Vietnam will become one of our major source markets in the years ahead. Our participation in important travel shows; such as, the ITE goes a long way towards enhancing our brand image amongst the Vietnamese travel trade and consumers.”
TAT invited Thailand’s Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Mr. Panyarak Poolthup, to preside over the opening ceremony of the 90 sq m Thai pavilion. Also present on the occasion were senior Vietnamese officials, Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan, Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Tourism, Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong, Vice Chairwoman of the HCM People’s Committee, Mr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, and Mr. La Quoc Khanh, Vice Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism HCMC.
The number of buyers and hosted buyers participating in the event totalled about 300 from Vietnam and other source markets; such as, Cambodia, Myanmar, India and Europe. There were nine Thai exhibitors including 3 travel agents, 4 hotels and resorts, a zoo and a university.
TAT used the opportunity to publicise information on Thai tourist attractions of interest to Vietnamese visitors; such as, Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. In addition, TAT presented Thai cultural activities at the Thai pavilion; such as, demonstration of Thai massage, a chance to try attractive Thai dresses and be photographed against a background of popular Thai attractions.
Along with positive image-building steps; such as, highlighting the beautiful attractions nationwide, Thai culture and tradition and upgraded quality of tourism services, TAT also promoted the photo opportunity of the “Sukjai” mascot (a symbol of the fun of travelling to Thailand) to Vietnamese and foreigners who attended the ITE.
During the ITE, a number of major Vietnamese travel agents (Vietravel and TST Tourist) were offering special-price five-day, four-night package tours of Bangkok – Pattaya. Vietravel later reported selling these packages to 230 clients and TST Tourist to 145 clients.
In January – August 2014, Vietnamese visitor arrivals Thailand totalled 416,180.
Seven airlines are operating 119 flights per week between the two countries with a seat capacity of 32,647. Vietnamese citizens get a 30-day visa-free entry to Thailand.