BANGKOK, Thailand – The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have conveyed their strong support of Thailand and its tourism industry as the country returns to normalcy following political unrest earlier in the year. Attending a Special Meeting on International Solidarity with Thai Tourism, both parties commended the recovery measures undertaken by the Thai government and the collaboration of the Thai private sector to support tourism in the country and expressed the unwavering solidarity of the international tourism community.
While recent unrest in the capital of Bangkok and the provinces of Thailand has been brought under control, the events had a significant impact on the flow of tourists, a major source of jobs and export revenues for the country. Against this background, a Special Meeting on International Solidarity with Thai Tourism was organized by UNWTO and PATA in Bangkok in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand.
The Thai government has been quick to show support to this key industry and implement recovery measures in close partnership with the private sector. Measures include a financial scheme for tourism entrepreneurs and small businesses affected by the unrest, exemption from the tourist visa fee for foreigners, and a landing and parking fee discount for airports.
Speaking at the event, UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, and PATA CEO, Gregory Duffell, stated their intention to work closely with Thailand to accelerate the recovery process of the country’s tourism industry.
“UNWTO and its members stand behind Thailand,” said Mr. Rifai. “Drawing on the experience gained from the UNWTO Tourism Resilience Committee, valuable lessons and strategies used by other member states to confront similar crisis situations will be shared. This meeting also represents an expression of solidarity with Thailand from the international tourism community.”
“Tourism plays a major role in the social and economic development of Thailand, contributing significantly to its GDP and job creation,” he added. “With government support, collaboration between the public and private sector, and the support of the international tourism community, the Thai tourism industry is sure to recuperate its losses and maintain its position as one of the major tourism destinations worldwide.”
Thailand has seen its tourism industry impacted in the past, from the SARS pandemic in 2003, to the tsunami in 2004, and the closure of the Suvarnabhumi airport in 2008. Nevertheless, tourism has proved extremely resilient, bouncing back stronger each time. Participants at the meeting expressed their confidence that tourism would recover rapidly, especially given the commitment of the Thai people and government to support the industry.
“Thailand has been PATA’s home for the past 11 years,” said Mr. Duffell. “Our staff and global family have built a deep connection with the people, culture, and tourism industry in ‘the land of smiles.’ Bangkok, in particular, is a vital regional hub for tourism. Any fluctuation in arrivals is felt throughout Southeast Asia, showing the importance of Thai tourism as an economic and employment catalyst for the entire sub-region. Together with our local PATA Thailand chapter members, PATA is assisting Thai authorities in the recovery process, and we are confident that a safe and stable Thailand will reinvigorate this truly unique and ‘amazing’ tourism destination.”
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry. In partnership with private and public sector members, PATA enhances the sustainable growth, value, and quality of travel and tourism to, from, and within the region. PATA provides leadership and counsel on an individual and collective basis to over 80 government, state, and city tourism bodies; nearly 50 international airlines, airports, cruise lines, and many hundreds of travel industry companies across the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to 39 active PATA chapters worldwide and participate in a wide range of PATA and industry events. PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC) offers unrivaled data and insights, including Asia Pacific inbound and outbound statistics, analyses, and forecasts, as well as in-depth reports on strategic tourism markets. PATA is a not-for-profit organization. For more information, please visit www.PATA.org .
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable, and universally-accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 154 countries, 7 territories, 2 permanent observers, and over 400 affiliate members.