The newly appointed director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Pattaya office said weekday tourists and golf tours top her list of projects.
Suladda Sarutilavan met with Pattaya Mail Publishing Managing Director Peter Malhotra Sept. 22 to exchange tourism-promotion ideas with reporters and outline priorities for the local TAT office.
Suladda admitted that Pattaya is better known for its tawdry side than sports, attractions and temples, but she said the agency still is working to promote the city as a family destination. She said the TAT website is offering vouchers aimed at weekday tourists.
Pratheep Malhotra (2nd right) presents commemorative books published by the Pattaya Mail Media Group on Their Majesties the King and Queen to Suladda Sarutilavan, director of TAT Pattaya office. They are flanked by Auttapon Thaweesuntorn (left), Asst. Dir. TAT Pattaya office, and Sue Kukarja (right), Director of Communications of PMTV.
“We already have a large number weekend tourists, so will draw more people to come on week days by offering two-night packages which come with complimentary vouchers for entrances to some attractions,” she said.
The second goal is to promote high-end golf tourism, Suladda said.
“Typically there would be a family of three or four, so dad can play golf, mum goes shopping and the kids can stay at the Cartoon Network water park for the day, not to mention several museums they can visit,” she said.
The TAT and Pattaya Mail Media group agree to cooperate with each other in the promotion of tourism to Pattaya and other destinations in Thailand. (l-r) Songpol Swetarat, Auttapon Thaweesuntorn, Suladda Sarutilavan, Pratheep Malhotra, Vutikorn Kamolchote (President of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya) and Sue Kukarja.
“Other than that, we will promote temple visits as well, because you don’t really think about temples when you think about Pattaya,” she said. To boost that effort, TAT may enlist some celebrities knowledgeable about Buddhism to promote temple tourism in the area.
Next year, she said, TAT will intensely promote Thai culture. “We will talk to the local communities and see what they are good at, such as the handicraft market in Phanat Nikom, and promote tourism there.”
Suladda said Pattaya received nearly 10 million tourists last year, 7.1 million of which were foreign tourists. With that many visitors, there are bound to be problems.
“TAT has the Ministry of Tourism and Sports take care of major policies and tourism development, as well as handling complaints and solving issues,” she said, noting TAT’s major role is marketing and promotion.
“However, we cannot deny that we have a part in all tourism activities or any problems that may arise and people would think that this is the responsibility of TAT,” she said. “So first of all, we do positive PR to project a positive image of tourism in Thailand to tourists all over the world. And when there are problems, we explain what we are going to do to solve them.”
“For that we need the cooperation of the private sector,” the TAT director added “Owners of each tourist attraction and we can discuss what needs to be improved and how we can work together. When we get feedback from tourists we will inform the private sector, city hall, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to make sure that their needs are addressed, therefore creating trust for both new and repeating visitors.”