Mayor leads delegation on Mid-East tourism road show

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Continuing their drive for Middle Eastern tourists, Pattaya officials took their Thailand road show to Turkey and Israel for two major travel fairs.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome led the delegation of Chonburi Province bureaucrats, Tourism Authority of Thailand staffers and 11 local businesspeople Feb. 6-14 to the Mediterranean Tourism Market in Israel and East Mediterranean International Tourism and Travel Exhibition in Turkey.

Thailand’s Ambassador to Israel (seated, 2nd left) hosts a dinner for the team from Pattaya, Chonburi, TAT and businesses from Thailand.Thailand’s Ambassador to Israel (seated, 2nd left) hosts a dinner for the team from Pattaya, Chonburi, TAT and businesses from Thailand.

Thai officials called the show a success, with many Middle Eastern travel agents seeking out information on Pattaya. Tourism executives talked with more than 500 local agents, with the city’s top attractions being the weather and its ocean-related activities.

An average of a little over 35,000 Turks visited Thailand every year since 2008. Their main destinations were Phuket and Pattaya, with sun, shopping and cultural attractions being the top draws. Thai officials said the nation of nearly 77 million generally sees Thailand as a safe and stable place for a holiday, despite two years of political unrest.

Turkish Airlines flies non-stop to Bangkok and Turks can take advantage of the 30-day visa exemption policy to enjoy an extended stay.

As for Israel, visitors to Thailand increased less than 3 percent from 2008, with 110,884 visits recorded. However, TAT statistics showed a spike in visits during the early months of 2010 and officials are hoping now that political tensions have subsided, more Israelis will visit during the coming low season.

Like Turkey, Israel is covered by 30-day visa exemption rules and national carrier El Al flies six times a week to Bangkok.

The team from Pattaya City Hall, Chonburi and TAT at the Pattaya booth in Turkey, promoting Pattaya and Chonburi.The team from Pattaya City Hall, Chonburi and TAT at the Pattaya booth in Turkey, promoting Pattaya and Chonburi.

Tourists and agents visited the Pattaya businesses booth in Israel.Tourists and agents visited the Pattaya businesses booth in Israel.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome visits different Thai booths to share ideas about attracting Turkish tourists to Thailand.Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome visits different Thai booths to share ideas about attracting Turkish tourists to Thailand.

The mayor exchanges ideas with international agents in Israel.The mayor exchanges ideas with international agents in Israel.

Officials from Pattaya City Hall, Chonburi PAO and TAT are on standby to give information to the agents.Officials from Pattaya City Hall, Chonburi PAO and TAT are on standby to give information to the agents.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome says hi to the EMITT Mascot in Turkey.Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome says hi to the EMITT Mascot in Turkey.