BANGKOK, Thailand – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has hailed the completion of the first privately organized motor caravan from India to Myanmar and Thailand.
The historic 2,500-kilometre journey, undertaken by a group of 20 Indian citizens, including one female driver, was organized by the New Delhi-based specialist road travel operator Adventure World. It sends a strong positive signal to the global travel and tourism industry that one of the last remaining sections of the Asian Highway linking South Asia and the ASEAN countries is now ready for road travel.
Traveling in a fleet of four sturdy Toyota and Mitsubishi cars and one Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the group started in Imphal, capital of the Indian state of Manipur, on 23 January, 2016, crossing into Myanmar via the Moreh-Tamu border and drove through Myanmar before entering Amazing Thailand at the Mae Sot border checkpoint. They arrived in Bangkok on 31 January and were hosted to a welcome reception by TAT headed by Dr. Walailak Noypayak, TAT’s Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Region.
After a three-day rest and recreation stay in Amazing Thailand, some of the group members returned to Imphal also via road, but using a different itinerary in Myanmar. Others chose to fly back to India.
TAT’s Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Region Dr. Walailak Noypayak said, “This historic trip marks the start of a new era for the travel and tourism industry in Asia and ASEAN. The long-awaited road linking India to Thailand will open up many unseen parts of Asia, put new destinations on the map, attract investment, create jobs and alleviate poverty.”
“It also proves the success of our long-standing strategy to position Thailand as a hub of travel, tourism and transport throughout the region.”
Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, Co-Founder of Adventure World, said he was proud that Indians had been at the forefront of this historic journey. He said that although some small parts of the road still need further improvement and the paperwork requirements both before the journey and at the border checkpoints can be fine-tuned, the journey proved that both the hardware and software were mostly in place for other road travel adventurers to follow suit.
The ground handling agents in Myanmar and Thailand were Bright View Travels and Exo Travel, respectively.
The caravan is the second one between Thailand and its ASEAN neighbours to be held in the first two months of 2016 alone. Between 7-16 January, 2016, Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd. in collaboration with TAT organised the second ASEAN Friendship Caravan through Cambodia, Lao PDR., Vietnam and Thailand.
The 3,400-kilometre journey was designed to publicise the many cultural and heritage destinations of the four countries that are now becoming increasingly accessible by road.