Thailand’s tourism body to partner with Middle East airlines

etihad  RHL Images flickrThe number of arrivals in Thailand from the Middle East was 171,323 from January to April 2014. (Image source: RHL Images/Flickr)The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced that it will collaborate with three major airline companies in the Middle East to maintain the inflow of travellers into Thailand

Thawatchai Arunyik, governor of TAT, and a team of senior officials were recently engaged in back-to-back talks with executives from Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways to help maintain a steady flow of arrivals into Thailand’s leading niche markets, especially tourism.

The organisation added that the airlines along with others like Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways, Royal Jordanian and Turkish Airlines have been providing seat-capacity via connections through their respective hub cities, enroute Bangkok.

Tanes Petsuwan, executive director of the Europe, Africa and Middle East region, said, “TAT officials had been told by the Gulf airlines that they would maintain this seat capacity, in spite of current political situations. Our main idea is to help the travel trade better and stress the fact that the vast majority of Thailand, including tourism attractions and transportation facilities, are open for business and operating normally.”

According to data collated by Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE, visitor arrivals from the Middle East countries totaled 171,323 from January this year to April 2014. TAT has been told that Bangkok is one of the key Asian hubs and the airline route to and fro Bangkok must be maintained for profitability.

Continuous travel advisories issued by several governments was one of the main problems faced by the Thai tourism industry and to combat this, TAT and the airlines have agreed to undertake familiarisation trips for media and travel agency representatives.

“Our main focus continues to be on the niche markets; such as, health and wellness, weddings and honeymoons. Gulf visitors are among the highest spenders per capita with an above average length of stay,” added Petsuwan.

TAT’s latest schedule of 2014 stated that there are 98 scheduled flights per week between Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket) and Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. This comprises Emirates (35 flights), Qatar Airways (35 flights), and Etihad Airways (28 flights).

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