The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s 2015 Irish Roadshow visited three cities from 24th – 26th February, including Belfast for the first time, where a great attendance of 52 travel agents from 16 agencies came to the Merchant Hotel to meet 16 Friends of Thailand.
The Friends represented three airlines (British Airways, Etihad Airways and Bangkok Airways), one tour operator (If Only), two DMCs (Exo Travel and ICS Travel Group), and 10 hotel groups or collections (Anand Collection, Anantara, Banyan Tree, Dusit, Eastern Favourites, Far East Collection, Hills Balfour, LJR Consultancy, Sandra Leach Company, and Wattana Collection). Irish Travel Trade News also accompanied the Roadshow to all three cities (Belfast, Cork and Limerick).
Hosting the Roadshow were Teerasil Tapen, Director, UK, Ireland & South Africa; Chris Lee, Trade Marketing Manager; and Kannika Mac, Marketing Executive, Leisure, UK & Ireland, of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
TAT’s theme for 2015 is ‘Discover Thainess’ and Chris Lee highlighted Thailand’s culture, food, traditional massage, hospitality and, most of all, the people and their smile, as top reasons to visit. Some 65% are return visitors, Thailand attracts 63,000 Irish visitors a year, and Irish citizens get a free visa on arrival (by air) for up to 30 days. Three top target audiences (in order) are post-family couples of 50+, pre-family couples 18-35, and families with teenagers.
In a prize draw at the end of the evening, Mark Richardson of Oasis Travel was presented with two nights at the Furama Silom Hotel in Bangkok and three nights at the Vijitt Resort in Phuket by Jas Anand of the Anand Collection, while the top prize of a place on a forthcoming fam trip to Thailand with Tourism Authority of Thailand and Etihad Airways was won by Stephanie Rea, Travel Counsellors.
Travel consultants can avail of Thailand Tourism’s modular online training programme on Travel Uni at www.training.tourismthailand.co.uk
The Roadshow moved on from Belfast to Cork, where 53 travel agents from 12 agencies attended at the River Lee Hotel. Here the Friends of Thailand who had taken part in the Belfast Roadshow were joined by five others: Centara, Discover Travel, Malaysia Airlines, Sunway and Topflight, with Teerasil Tapen, Chris Lee and Kannika Mac of the Tourism Authority of Thailand again hosting the event.
The tour operator and DMC representatives in particular emphasised the value in travel consultants with clients thinking of visiting Thailand offering a combination of Thailand with one or more other countries in the Mekong region, such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and/or Vietnam. This not only offers clients an added-value experience but also a holiday that they will not easily find on the Internet.
In the prize draw, Imelda McCarthy, Discover Travel, won the place on the forthcoming TAT/Etihad fam trip to Thailand, while Ciara MacConnell, Travel Counsellors, won two nights at the Pathumwan Princess Hotel in Bangkok and three nights at the Layana Resort in Koh Lanta from the Anand Collection.
From Cork the Roadshow travelled to Limerick, where 30 agents from 10 agencies dined at the Kaya Thai Restaurant.
In the Limerick prize draw, Caroline Byrne, Trailfinders, won the place on the forthcoming TAT/Etihad fam trip to Thailand, while Chris Bowen, Trailfinders, won a dinner for two at the Kaya Thai Restaurant.