Thailand’s tourism industry is aiming for better year in 2015, following the launch of a new global marketing campaign.
The country’s interim Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-ocha, this week presided over the grand opening of the ‘2015 Discover Thainess’ tourism drive, which featured a parade through the centre of Bangkok.
The campaign, which is being spearheaded by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), will focus on pushing the Thai government’s ’12 national core values’, which include the promotion and preservation of Thai traditions and culture, and a focus on the national character of the Thai people.
“’Thainess’ represents the unique character of Thailand, which embodies centuries-old cultural values and social practices,” said General Prayut. “The upholding of the three main pillars – the nation, religion and the monarchy –, the preservation of Thai traditions and culture, such as, Thai arts and the ‘wai’, or the Thai greeting and show of respect, as well as the friendly nature of the Thai people, form part of ‘Thainess’ and make Thailand very unique as a nation.”
Highlights of the Discover Thainess year will include a series of events, including a Muay Thai (Thai boxing) festival in March, the nationwide Songkran (Thai New Year) Festival in April, the Queen of Silk Festival in August and the nationwide Loi Krathong Festival in November.
Coinciding with the launch of the campaign, the Thailand Tourism Festival (TTF) is being held in Bangkok’s Lumpini Park from 14-18 January.
“The processions through the heart of Bangkok are a great way to kick-start the 2015 Discover Thainess campaign,” said TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik. “By giving a colourful taste of the Thai festivals and traditions and showing to visitors the nation’s infinite variety, we are encouraging them to explore our country and culture.
“What is more, because the event is taking place at the same time as the TTF, many tourists will be able to experience ‘Thainess’ through the observation and participation in various activities available at the five-day festival,” he added.
According to official figures, international visitor arrivals to Thailand fell 6.6% in 2014, in a year that was impacted by protests, a coup, nationwide curfew and the imposition of martial law. Thailand is now targeting 28 million visitor arrivals in 2015, up 13% year-on-year, with tourism revenues expected to jump 16% to THB1.35 trillion (US$41 billion).