BANGKOK, 25 September, 2017 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand is hosting Bangkok-based media on a five-day fam trip this week to promote Bangkok as a hub to visit Laos, North Thailand and Myanmar.
Nothing new about the concept of two or three- country travel itineraries. Tour operators have been successfully selling Bangkok as a gateway to Laos and Myanmar for decades.
However, while the starting point remains the Bangkok hub of Suvarnabhumi Airport, the difference this time round is an itinerary that misses the capital cities of Myanmar and Laos concentrating on Mandalay in Myanmar, Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city in the north and Luang Prabang in Laos.
The five-day media trip ends tomorrow with a return flight to Bangkok, 26 September, from Luang Prabang, a World Heritage town in Laos and the country’s top destination.
The trip started with a flight on Bangkok Airways from Bangkok to Mandalay, followed by a day of sightseeing in Myanmar’s second largest city.
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said: “With the integration of the ASEAN Economic Community, we aim to promote ASEAN as a single tourist destination. These media trips and expected coverage, when combined with other promotions and initiatives will help boost awareness of the tourism connectivity for multi-destination itineraries in the greater Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT) region.”
The ASEAN Connectivity media fam trip highlights Thailand’s potential as an aviation and tourism hub, a position that is now mainly supported by low-cost airlines such as those in the AirAsia group that have pioneered new routes across Southeast Asia.
A Mekong Region study suggested there were around 600 international flights per week operating on routes, departing Thailand to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. This breaks down into 299 flights to Myanmar; 190 to Vietnam; 108 to Cambodia, and 61 to Lao PDR.
Road travel is possible too, although self-drive holidays are seriously overrated due to restrictions on cross border crossings for vehicles. There are overland bus services from Thailand to all of Thailand’s neighbours, but bus trips are risky and time consuming. Most travellers discover that low-cost airfares are almost the same price as the tickets on air-conditioned buses and considerably safer.
TAT says it is spearheading discussions with airline partners; such as, Thai Airways International, Thai Smile Airways, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, and Thai AirAsia about the possibility of opening new routes connecting major cities as well as routes between secondary cities.
The recent direct flight is Quang Binh in Vietnam to Chiang Mai is an example launched last August.
Currently TAT says it is encouraging travel agents to join fam trips themed ‘ASEAN Romantic Treasures’, which connects Thailand’s Samet Island, Cambodia’s Siem Reap, and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City; ‘ASEAN World Heritage Cities’ that combines Bangkok, Sukhothai and Chiang Mai in Thailand with Luang Prabang in Lao PDR; ‘ASEAN Gastronomy Local Experiences’ to showcase Thailand’s Bangkok and Ayutthaya combined with Malaysia’s Malacca and Kuala Lumpur; ‘ASEAN Kingdoms Journey’ highlighting Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Lamphun in Thailand and Mandalay in Myanmar.
(Source: TAT news)