The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) took part in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), one of the leading travel shows in the Middle East, to reinforce the message that Thailand is ready to welcome visitors from the Middle East for the Green Season.
A contingent of 58 Thai hotels, tour operators, airlines, and amusement parks joined the 21st ATM during 5-8 May, 2014, in Dubai. Attended by more than 2,500 senior members of the travel trade and media, the timing of the show is a perfect match for the outbound summer travel period from the Middle East and the inbound monsoon season in Thailand, when the country is covered by a carpet of lush greenery.
“The ATM remains one of the most important shows for boosting our profile in the Middle East.” Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, TAT Governor said. “Now that the State of Emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces has been lifted, we hope the governments of the Middle East countries will relax their travel warnings to Thailand. All major tourist attractions and facilities are operating as normal. We are ready to welcome visitors from the Middle East, particularly during the Green Season (May to September).”
Before the actual start of the show, TAT hosted the Amazing Thailand Networking Lunch on 4 May, 2014, to provide further details about the tourism situation in Thailand and tourism products update, focusing on the long-standing efforts to attract other niche-market visitors; such as, high-end visitors, weddings and honeymoons, health and wellness, golf and ecotourists.
The lunch at the Blue Rain Restaurant, the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre, was attended by top executives from leading travel agencies in the UAE, airlines representatives and media.
In 2013, Thailand welcomed 26.5 million visitors. Of these, there were a total of 630,243 tourists from the Middle East. Over 123,000 were visitors from the UAE, 71,000 visitors from Kuwait, 28,000 from Egypt and 21,000 from Saudi Arabia.
The Middle East market has a very high average length of stay and average daily expenditure. For example, in 2012 visitors from the UAE had an average length of stay of 10.66 days and average expenditure of 183.10 US dollars. Visitors from Saudi Arabia had an average length of stay of 9.95 days, and average expenditure of 171.51 US dollars, and visitors from Kuwait had an average length of stay of 10.51 days, and average expenditure of 166.62 US dollars.
Thailand is also conveniently connected to major cities in Middle East with 165 direct scheduled flights per week operating by 11 airlines. Emirates now has direct flights from Dubai to Bangkok, and Etihad Airways is set to follow on 26 October this year with direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Phuket, using a 262-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
In 2014, TAT is projecting 696,000 visitors from the Middle East.