Skål Thailand president urges Pattaya members to leverage global membership to rebuild kingdom’s tourism industry

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Skål International Thailand President Dale Lawrence urged Pattaya-chapter members to leverage the power and influence of the organization’s global brand to promote the message that the kingdom is ready to welcome business and leisure travelers.

Speaking at the July 24 Skål Pattaya and East Thailand meeting at the [email protected] Design Hotel, Lawrence said Skål members worldwide can help boost Thailand’s fortunes in the post-coup environment.

“We have 16,554 members in 89 countries. Let’s use their knowledge, experience and their membership of Skål International, the world’s oldest tourism industry networking organization, to help us raise awareness that Thailand is a safe and secure destination,” he said.

“We face a huge challenge in restoring confidence amongst stakeholders in Thailand’s principal tourism source markets. Some governments remain slow in amending their respective travel advisories and we need the support of Skål members worldwide in spreading the word that Thailand is not only open for business but also remains the value destination for leisure travel and business in Southeast Asia,” he added.

The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions business he said “has taken a major hit over the past 6-9 months. The ability of Thailand’s leisure tourism to recover, to bounce back from adversity, is legendary. But so much MICE business has been lost,” Lawrence said. “The essential confidence factor amongst international events planners has suffered irreparable damage. This fantastic initiative in Pattaya deserves to succeed and I congratulate everyone associated with the North Pattaya Alliance.”

The North Pattaya Alliance is an initiative designed to position the city’s northern bay as an events and wedding destination with the support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and Pattaya City.

Lawrence said Pattaya should take heart that European tourist numbers may be down, but the number of Chinese, typically frightened off by political unrest, have increased. He said tourists also are spending heavily on luxury items.

What has to be done to make this low season attractive for tourists? And what has the Tourism Authority of Thailand done to help? These were questions Lawrence posed for the audience.

“Let’s be honest, foreigners come to Thailand not because they see posters or brochures at TAT offices or travel agencies in their countries,” said Skål Pattaya and Eastern Thailand founding member Peter Malhotra. “They choose to come to Thailand because their friends and families who have been here tell them of the charm and beauty of this country and the Thai people. Once they have personally experienced the magic of the Thai smile and kindness themselves, they will keep coming back again and again, and for many even make Thailand their home. The Thai people themselves are the true ambassadors of our beautiful country.

By nature the Thai people are peaceful and non-confrontational. We have gone through a dreadful period of turmoil caused by unfortunate circumstances. Things will be better now. We will soon become a land of happiness and smiles again and tourism will thrive.”

The evening was not totally dominated by speeches, however. As ever, the Skål meeting was a place to network and meet new people. It began in the 25th floor Sky bar, with its expansive view of Pattaya Bay, and moved to the uniquely decorated Car Bar downstairs where members mingled among old rickshaws and military jeeps used as seats. Finger-food refreshments and more drinks were waiting.

Skål President Tony Malhotra offered the “Skål Toast” and introduced the board of directors. He was followed by [email protected] General Manager Dimitry Chernyshev.

Tony Malhotra, President of Skål International Pattaya & East Thailand, presents the business addresses to Skålleagues and guests.Tony Malhotra, President of Skål International Pattaya & East Thailand, presents the business addresses to Skålleagues and guests.

Guests that evening included Allen Riddell from SATCC, who was one of the first to sign membership with Skål Pattaya, Robert Lohrmann, general manager of the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort, Kate Gerits, the general manager of the Holiday Inn Pattaya, Marlowe and Vicky Malhotra of Massic Travel, and Gundmund Eiksund, Rony and Jeannette Heltne from Norwegian Properties Group.

Kate Gerits, GM of Holiday Inn Pattaya invites Skålleagues and guests to the next meeting on August 21 at her hotel’s new building.Kate Gerits, GM of Holiday Inn Pattaya invites Skålleagues and guests to the next meeting on August 21 at her hotel’s new building.

Newcomers included J.P. Bernet and Cherdchai Chantasit from Ibis Pattaya, John Manley, the newly appointed assistant manager of Hard Rock Hotel, Jonas Sjostedt of Centara Pattaya Hotel, Areewan Thammasorn Cluster, director of sales from Compass Hospitality, Nisa Pragopchai from Dusit Thani Pattaya and Nachawan Kanawattanakul, managing director of Delight Residence.

Peter Malhotra, MD of Pattaya Mail Media Group, expands on the idea Thailand’s tourism.Peter Malhotra, MD of Pattaya Mail Media Group, expands on the idea Thailand’s tourism.

Dominique Rongé from Centara Grand Phratamnak brought Carl Duggan and Amy Supparatch Piyawatcharapun, Neil Maniquiz and Janya Rattanaliam from Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. And Hans Banziger from Swiss Paradise and Fabian Arp from Thai-Ger Line Golf also attended.

Kate Gerits, the general manager of the Holiday Inn invited everyone to come to the official opening of the hotel’s new building August 1st. The Holiday Inn will host the next Skål meeting August 21.

Robert Lohrmann gives a vote of thanks to Skål International Pattaya & East Thailand, host hotel and Skål Thailand President for an excellent evening.Robert Lohrmann gives a vote of thanks to Skål International Pattaya & East Thailand, host hotel and Skål Thailand President for an excellent evening.

President Dale Lawrence explores ideas about Skål and its benefits on PMTV.President Dale Lawrence explores ideas about Skål and its benefits on PMTV.

Dmitry Chernyshev and Tony Malhotra chat over a glass of beer at the end of the evening.Dmitry Chernyshev and Tony Malhotra chat over a glass of beer at the end of the evening.

(L to R) Allan Riddell from SATCC, Dale Lawrence, President of Skål International Thailand, and Dr. Iain Corness from Pattaya Mail.(L to R) Allan Riddell from SATCC, Dale Lawrence, President of Skål International Thailand, and Dr. Iain Corness from Pattaya Mail.

(L to R) Robert Lohrmann, GM of Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort, Skål Pattaya President Tony Malhotra, Skål Thailand President Dale Lawrence and Jonas Sjostedt, GM of Centara Pattaya Hotel.(L to R) Robert Lohrmann, GM of Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort, Skål Pattaya President Tony Malhotra, Skål Thailand President Dale Lawrence and Jonas Sjostedt, GM of Centara Pattaya Hotel.

Jason Duthie and Jay Cammack from Litehouse Asia with Niruth Hongchanda, F&B Director of Siam@Siam Design Hotel Pattaya.Jason Duthie and Jay Cammack from Litehouse Asia with Niruth Hongchanda, F&B Director of [email protected] Design Hotel Pattaya.

Cherdchai Chantasit (left) with JP Bernet from Ibis Pattaya.Cherdchai Chantasit (left) with JP Bernet from Ibis Pattaya.

(L to R) Massic Travel’s Vicky Malhotra and Marlowe Malhotra; Dr. Iain Corness, Peter Malhotra, MD Pattaya Mail Media Group, Nachawan Kanawattanakul, Manager of the Delight Residence Pattaya, and Prince Malhotra, GM of Pattaya Mail Media Group.(L to R) Massic Travel’s Vicky Malhotra and Marlowe Malhotra; Dr. Iain Corness, Peter Malhotra, MD Pattaya Mail Media Group, Nachawan Kanawattanakul, Manager of the Delight Residence Pattaya, and Prince Malhotra, GM of Pattaya Mail Media Group.

Beautiful view of Pattaya Bay from the rooftop of the hotel.Beautiful view of Pattaya Bay from the rooftop of the hotel.

Jitmanee Siravithayavanich of Way Hotel Pattaya and Kamolphop Suksamarn of Nova Platinum Hotel Pattaya.Jitmanee Siravithayavanich of Way Hotel Pattaya and Kamolphop Suksamarn of Nova Platinum Hotel Pattaya.

Dmitry Chernyshev (right) poses for a photo with Jeena Saguansap (left) and Kamutporn Chaiwong.Dmitry Chernyshev (right) poses for a photo with Jeena Saguansap (left) and Kamutporn Chaiwong.

Dmitry Chernyshev (center) welcomes Centara Grand Phratamnak’s EAM-F&B Carl Duggan (left) and GM Dominique Rongé (right).Dmitry Chernyshev (center) welcomes Centara Grand Phratamnak’s EAM-F&B Carl Duggan (left) and GM Dominique Rongé (right).

Three guests smiling and enjoying the humorous speech given by Peter Malhotra (L to R) Pichchaya Nitikarn from Amari Pattaya, Nisa Pragopchai from Dusit Thani Pattaya and Janya Rattanaliam, Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.Three guests smiling and enjoying the humorous speech given by Peter Malhotra (L to R) Pichchaya Nitikarn from Amari Pattaya, Nisa Pragopchai from Dusit Thani Pattaya and Janya Rattanaliam, Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

(L to R) Norwegian Properties Group’s Patararuthai Kittiwanitchakul, Somporn Penprachum, Gudmund Eiksund, Jeanette Eiksund and Ronny Heltne.(L to R) Norwegian Properties Group’s Patararuthai Kittiwanitchakul, Somporn Penprachum, Gudmund Eiksund, Jeanette Eiksund and Ronny Heltne.

(L to R) Stuart Saunders, Ronny Heltne, Patararuthai Kittiwanitchakul, Dr. Iain Corness, Neil Maniquiz and Hans Banziger.(L to R) Stuart Saunders, Ronny Heltne, Patararuthai Kittiwanitchakul, Dr. Iain Corness, Neil Maniquiz and Hans Banziger.