Regional tourism industry leaders were briefed on the development of U-Tapao Airport and new initiatives from the Tourism Authority at the “Directions of Tourism” seminar in Pattaya.
TAT Pattaya office Director Suladda Sarutilavan hosted the July 14 presentation at the Mercure Hotel, which was attended by representatives from the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Region, Pattaya Business & Tourism Association, and various business owners.
The day featured three lectures on the “Direction of Tourism”, “TAT Intelligence Center” and plans to make U-Tapao Airport a third major international gateway.
Acting TAT governor, Jutaporn Roengronasa, said the TAT hopes to increase tourism by 8% by 2016.
In the first speech, Jutaporn Roengronasa, acting TAT governor, said Thailand’s tourism industry currently is ranked third in Asia and ninth in the world.
The “TAT is hoping to increase tourism by 8% in 2016,” Jutaporn said. “There are far more other attractions in Thailand than just beaches and the modern cities. We must create a new approach to the market to maintain the level of tourists.”
He said one strategy to do that is focus on “cultural tourism”.
“Thailand has unique cultural treasures and the Thai way of happiness that can be showcased to international visitors, which is why promoting the ‘12 cities you shouldn’t miss’ project will be a worthy cause,” he said, referring to an ongoing campaign to promote Lampang, Nan, Phetchabun, Loei, Buriram, Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Chantaburi, Trat, Chumphon, Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Another strategy is to promote Pattaya and other resorts as “ladies destinations.”
Rear Adm. Vasinsan Chantavarin is promoting U-Tapao Airport for Thailand’s third international gateway, along with Bangkok’s Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports.
“It would create a strong marketing point as women are in charge of families. They are the money holders and like to shop and make decisions during holidays,” Jutaporn said. “Therefore, women should be more recognized and provided convenience in shopping malls, hotels and others.”
One example of such conveniences would be women-only parking lots, as seen at airports and a mall in Pattaya.
Speaking about the new TAT Intelligence Center, database project director Jaran Chuenaitham said the center, known internally as Tactic, “is a database system that holds tourism-related information, such as inbound and outbound travelers, as well as forward bookings for both airlines and hotels.
(L to R) Sanphet Suphabuansathien, president of the THA Eastern Thailand, Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn, President of the PBTA, Jaran Chuenaitham, director of the TAT Database Department, Thanet Supornsahatrangsi, Vice President of the Tourism Council of Thailand, Jutaporn Roengronasa, acting TAT governor, Rear Adm. Vasinsan Chantavarin, Suladda Sarutilavan, TAT Pattaya director, Taweepong Wichaidit, General Manager of DASTA, and Komkrit Prasitnarits, Advisor to the Tourism & Sports Committee, line up for a commemorative photo.
“The center is directly responsible for the marketing and promotion of Thailand’s tourism, and recognizes the growing competition in the world’s tourism scene. Hence, this partnership forms part of TAT’s many strategies to help establish and consolidate tourism information to foster innovation, collaboration, competitiveness and sustainable development.”
Jaran then showed how Tactic works. Attendees were instructed how register and become members before logging on to the website. The site also serves as a forum for knowledge exchange, marketing information and business formulation. It shows the occupancy rates of most visited provinces and cities on a monthly basis as well as the numbers of arrivals in airports on a daily basis.
In 2008, the government proposed renaming the Thai military airfield in Rayong “U-Tapao Pattaya International Airport” and local officials have referred to it that way as plans began and flagged to redevelop the airport.
(L to R) TAT Pattaya Director Suladda Sarutilavan, along with Acting TAT governor Jutaporn Roengronasa, and TAT Intelligence Center database project director Jaran Chuenaitham prepare to address the seminar.
Both the name change and previous development plan have been scrapped and now the government has given an OK to a 700-billion-baht, five-year program to modestly develop U- Tapao Rayong Pattaya Airport, as the military calls it, into a third international gateway, along with Bangkok’s Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi airports.
Airport director Rear Adm. Vasinsan Chantavarin said both its location near Pattaya and the fact the United States constructed runway is long enough to handle jumbo jets create great potential for U-Tapao.
TAT Pattaya director Suladda Sarutilavan presents a basket of goods to Rear Adm. Vasinsan Chantavarin, Director of U-Tapao Airport.
“Links to the airport include Highway 331, which has been expanded into four traffic lanes, and the motorway under construction to link Pattaya and Maptaput. A high-speed railway link is planned from Bangkok and could be complete by 2020,” he noted.