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Phuket still on the map at TTM+ 2013

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PHUKET: The island is still a top tourist hub in Southeast Asia, with a wide variety of hotels, resorts and hospitality-related businesses representing Phuket at 13th annual Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2013 (TTM+ 2013), held at the IMPACT Exhibition Hall in Bangkok recently.

More than 800 delegates arrived from around the region to network with the 420 hospitality related organizations participating at Thailand’s largest business-to-business event, which is organized annually by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Phuket-based Internet marketing and booking engine provider for hotels, Wide Discovery Dot Com, reported a very positive response from visitors to the company’s booth.

The TAT reported a 16 % jump in international arrivals to Thailand last year to reach a record-breaking 22.3 million travellers, according to Deputy Governor in charge of Europe and the Americas, Juttaporn Rerngronasa.

The TAT aims to attract a total of 24.1 million international visitors this year, predicting tourism revenue of up to US$37 billion (1.14 trillion baht). TAT says it will focus more on quality, rather than quantity by employing more effective marketing campaigns that target upper class, high-spending travellers.

“This year’s TTM was one of the best yet for Wide Discovery,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Ms Nitima Hongyot.

“As Phuket’s only provider of custom internet marketing and booking solutions for the hospitality industry, we have seen a significant increase in hoteliers seeking to improve their position in the global market by upgrading their online end-user experience and reach out to more independent travellers to encourage them to book directly on line,” she said.

IN BRIEF: Thailand number one for Kazakhstan tourists

Thailand is the most favored destination in Southeast Asia for tourists from Kazakhstan, with the number of arrivals continuing to rise due to the friendly service, greater accessibility and affordable prices.

Given the cold climate in the Central Asian country, an estimated 80% of Kazakhs like to enjoy a beach holiday in Phuket and Pattaya, while Krabi was fast emerging as a preferred destination.

Some women travellers prefer Thailand for its spas, and also consider it as an ideal wedding and honeymoon destination.

In 2013, the number of Kazakh tourists visiting Thailand is projected at 60,000, up from 52,000 in 2012, and 42,000 in 2011.

Sergey Jetpyspayev, project manager at Travellab, a travel operator based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, said Thailand, Turkey and Dubai were the popular countries among Kazakh tourists. Mr Jetpyspayev was in Bangkok to attend the Thailand Travel Mart 2013 Plus. As a buyer, he updated tourism products and services in Thailand with local and regional sellers.

He said that Kazakhs also liked to go to China, but mostly for business. Compared to Dubai, Thailand offers price competitiveness, being 20 to 30% cheaper for most things, he said.

Thailand was the most favored destination in Southeast Asia because the country is more accessible, with daily direct flights in addition to charter flight service during the winter season.

In comparison, there were fewer flights to countries like Malaysia and Vietnam – twice a week and once a week respectively.

Kazakhs were also interested in Cambodia and Vietnam but Thailand remained their primary destination, with only short trips to those places.

Groups that visit Thailand range from students to wealthy people. Some had bought villas in Thailand to stay as well.

At present, Kazakhstan has a population of 17 million, with about 1.5 million people going out of the country to travel each year. – Bamrung Amnatcharoenrit

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