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Reflections #2 – Thailand Tourism Forum – ‘Chindia Tourism’

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‘CHINDIAN’ Tourists – Same Same or Different?

by Wimintra Raj – hotelintel.co

If you’re running a hotel or any business related to the local tourism industry in Thailand, this is an article you need to read, then read again. It was just one of the many presentations at the annual Thailand Tourism Forum held in Bangkok recently.

“For the third year running, I had the honour of being invited to be one of the speakers at the Thailand Tourism Forum, 2019 which was organised by Thailand’s American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and Bill Barnett of C9 Hotelworks. The topic that was requested this year – ‘CHINDIAN Tourists – Same Same or Different?’.”

While the term ‘Chindian’ is sometimes used to refer to people of mixed Chinese and Indian descent, in this case it’s just a shorthand way to refer to tourists coming from either China or India.

It was a fascinating topic to research, looking to answer questions like ‘How they are important to us and our industry?’, ‘What are the risks and benefits of each group?’ and ‘What are the key issues that are important to each of these groups? – are they fundamentally different?’.

By 2020, there will be 240 million passport holders from China, and approximately 73 million passport holders from India. Most Chinese travelers will be traveling for business and leisure. Indian travelers are slightly different, whilte still having high rates of tourism based travel, there are also many Indians traveling abroad for employment, as well as visiting friends and relatives.

In fact ‘VFR’ or ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ is actually an official category known amongst Indians used to categorise their own travel. VFR travelers don’t tend to stay in hotels as much and will usually stay at their friends and relatives homes and spend less money.

Read more about Wimintra’s presentation on the rise of ‘CHINDIAN’ tourism HERE.

Reflections #2 - Thailand Tourism Forum - 'Chindia Tourism' | News by The ThaigerReflections #2 - Thailand Tourism Forum - 'Chindia Tourism' | News by The ThaigerReflections #2 - Thailand Tourism Forum - 'Chindia Tourism' | News by The Thaiger

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The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue

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The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Former Thai Sports and Tourism Minister with Vernon Unsworth MBE

The Isan Project has collaborated with the TAT on new marketing campaign featuring music commemorating the Tham Luang cave rescue.

The story of how 13 young men, members of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, were saved in the caves of Chiang Rai continues to ignites interest in the miraculous internationally-followed rescue in July 2018 from the flooded Tham Luang cave

To honour the safe rescue music video company The Isan Projectrecently launched “Where the Eagles Fly”, video to pay tribute to the British hero of the dramatic saga, Vern Unsworth MBE.

The release of a movie and Netflix mini series shortly will also boost interest globally in Thailand. The series includes the first individual interviews with the boys and they coach.

The launch, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and supported by the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit and Serenity Wines, was attended by several key persons involved in the rescue mission two years ago, including former Tourism & Sports Minister, Weerasak Kowsurat, who played a major role in flying in special cave divers from the UK as requested by Vernon Unsworth, a recognised cave explorer, who knows virtually every inch of the Tham Luang cave.

“It is absolutely true that without Vernon’s persistence in obtaining the help from the UK cave diving experts to initially spearhead the rescue mission, the boys and their coach would not be alive today.”

“Needless to say, assistance from experienced and skilled cave divers from around the world, who later volunteered to join as well as our own Navy Seals, all contributed to the mission’s ultimate success.”

Vernon Unsworth MBE, his partner Woranan Ratrawiphakkun, and his caving buddy Kamon Kunngamkwamdee, all starred in the “Where the Eagles Fly” fantasy music video, which was set in deep jungle and caves in the mountain of Doi Nang Non in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

“I’m truly honoured to have this song written about me. It was very moving to relive parts of the rescue while making the music video, especially when I think back on how Kamon and I covered over 16 km. on the first day after we knew the boys were missing. We virtually lived in the cave for the first 4 days prior to the arrival of my cave diving colleagues from the UK”.

The story of how the football team were saved in the caves is a heart warming one. For many attending the event it was a privilege and an honour to meet 63 year old Vernon Unsworth in person. An event filled with stories of bravery, emotion and moving music.

Vernon, who has mapped the cave system for 8 years, was the first professional cave diver at the site and realising the enormous danger the boys were in, played a significant rôle in the rescue and earned him the UK’s high honour, an MBE medal.

As the rescue became a race against time ahead of impending monsoon rains, Vernon undertook reconnaissance dives upstream through flooded passages against strong currents.

Weerasak Kowsurat, the former Minister of Tourism and Sports, recalled how a message written on a piece of paper by Vernon and handed to his colleague for safe keeping with instructions that it was to be handed over in case Vernon, fearing the worst, didn’t make it out on an exploratory dive. It was very dangerous work and one Thai diver died during the course of the rescue.

Although Vernon was safe, the message was handed to the Minister who was at the cave site. The message was to contact the British Dive Caving Association and gave names of expert divers and telephone numbers. Within 24 hours the Tourism Minister had managed to get the UK divers on a hastily arranged flight to Thailand to assist in the rescue effort.

The team of UK divers, working under appalling conditions and with time running out, in poor visibility located the team marooned on a ledge above the water about 4 kilometres inside the cave complex.

Writer and executive producer of The Isan Project, Will Robinson says… “Although I had penned and produced “Heroes of Thailand” honouring all those involved in the Tham Luang cave rescue, I felt it was time to pay a special tribute directly to the mastermind of the extremely complex mission.”

“Vernon is such a humble man, I wanted to create a song not only to honour him, but also to establish Tham Luang and what is now known as the ‘Wild Boar Cave’, where the boys were found, as a new tourist attraction for those who love to explore caves.”

At the beginning of the video it reads…

“On June 23, 2018, 12 boys from the Wild Boar football team went exploring the Tham Luang cave with their coach in Chiang Rai. They never returned home that night, next day locals contacted cave explorer Vern Unsworth in nearby Mae Fah Luang. Over the course of the next two weeks Vern put his life on the line for the young football team with a daring rescue engineered by Vern and Elite British cave divers. This song was written in honour of Vern Unsworth M.B.E. and inspired by the above events.”

You can watch the video HERE.

Commenting on the Isan Project Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications said, “TAT appreciates Will’s love of Thailand, and we are delighted to be supporting this launch. We also believe that this song combined with the newly-published children’s book, “All Thirteen” and the soon-to-be released Hollywood movie, “Thirteen Lives”, will help to dramatically boost tourism in and around Chiang Rai even though we will need to rely mainly on domestic tourists until the end of the year while international travel is still restricted.”

“Where the Eagles Fly”, co-written by Will Robinson and Daniel Ryan, and performed by Daniel himself, is tipped to top the charts when the MGM blockbuster movie, “Thirteen Lives” and the Netflix mini-series about the epic story of the Tham Luang cave rescue are released. The song is now available from all digital music stores including iTunes, Spotify, Apple and Amazon.

The Isan Project honours a hero of Tham Luang cave rescue | News by The Thaiger

From left: Mr. Sobchai (Ford) Kraiyoonsen Singer/composer, Mr. Tanes Petsuwan TAT’s Deputy Governor of Marketing Communications, Senator Weerasak Kowsurat former Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr. Vern Unsworth British cave explorer, Mr. Will Robinson Writer and Executive Producer of The Isan Project, Mr. Nithee Seeprae TAT’s Executive Director of Advertising & PR Department, Ms. Woranan Ratrawiphakkun Vern’s partner, Mr. Sammy Carolus GM of the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit

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Protests

Protester released from remand prison, demands Thai PM’s resignation by 10pm tonight

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Protester released from remand prison, demands Thai PM’s resignation by 10pm tonight | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok remand prison

Protesters are continuing to pour on the pressure, now demanding the resignation of the Thai PM by 4pm this afternoon. Following the prime minister’s speech to the nation on Wednesday evening, protesters had earlier said they would “stand down” and shuffled their deadline forward for the PM’s resignation to Sunday night.

But last night anti-government protesters set a 10pm deadline tonight for the resignation.

Chatupat Boonpatthararaksa, aka. Pai Daodin, freed from the Bangkok Remand Prison yesterday after a hearing by the Appeals Court, demanded the release of all remanded protesters and announced his demand for PM Prayut’s resignation. Protesters are demanding the release of 8 other key protest leaders, still being held at the prison – Parit Chivarak, Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul and Panupong Jardnok,aka. Mike Rayong.

Chatupat joined other protesters who were camped outside the prison. Word spread of Chatupat’s release and even more people joined in the protest, until the entire road outside the prison was completely blocked. The protesters had cleared by 5am this morning, allowing traffic to pass again.

The spontaneous demonstration involved drawings of other prisoners, still in detention, as well as likenesses of the Thai PM, scrawled onto white cloth. There was also music and the singing of anti-government songs, and peppered with speeches.

The demands of the protesters for a resignation of Prayut Chan-o-cha by 10pm is unlikely to be met, nor the other deadline, set for “Sunday night”. The Thai Parliament enters 2 days of emergency joint sitting on Monday and Tuesday as they address the current political impasse.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Close encounter of the Royal kind – Thai King and Queen stop to praise a royal supporter

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Close encounter of the Royal kind – Thai King and Queen stop to praise a royal supporter | The Thaiger
MONTAGE: Thai PBS World

It was a rare moment that has shocked royal supporters, in the best way possible, as the Royal couple turned on the charm after a merit-making ceremony last night.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida stepped away from the traditional royal protocol after last night’s official ceremony, stopping briefly to single out a man who was with a small yellow-clad crowd who had assembled outside the Grand Palace. Their Majesties presided over a merit-making ceremony on Friday night for the public holiday in commemoration of King Chulalongkorn

Well wishers were shocked when both the Thai King and Queen appeared to recognise a man who made headlines in Thai media last week when he held up a portrait of HM’s parents, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the Queen Mother Sirikit, in a show of defiance in the middle of an anti-government protest. His Majesty went further and clasped the hands of seated well-wishers, a first for the Thai monarch who was crowned officially on May 4 last year and spends much of his time living in Bavaria, Germany.

The man held the portrait high in the air, held his ground and berated the protesters. He said at the time that he wanted to show solidarity for royal supporters in reaction to the anti-government protests that had been rising in support since July.

HM the King approached and thanked the man, Thitiwat Tanagaroon, for his actions as the rest of the crowd yelled “Long live Their Majesties” (in Thai).

Posting on his Facebook page, Thitiwat recalled the few moments he is unlikely to forget when HM the Queen recognised him from media exposure of the anti-government protest event, and turned to explain to the King that he was the same man who had held up the royal portrait outside the Central Pinklao shopping centre.

Thai media report that the Queen said… “I grant you my support. Thank you very much.”

His Majesty then added, “Very brave. So good. Thank you.”

His Majesty then placed his hand on the man’s shoulder. Thitiwat responded “Long live the King. This is a very great honour for me.”

Thitiwat later posted on his Facebook page… “I am fainting. Their Majesties recognised me. This is the best moment in my life,”

He posted the photo of the King touching his shoulder as the Queen looked on smiling. Overcome with the moment, Thitirat was consoled by the rest of the band of royal supporters.

The posts and video clips instantly went viral on social media last night. The hashtags #FightOnYourMajesty and #WeLoveThaiMonarchy were trending on Twitter last night, pushing aside the #PrayutGetOut and similar hashtags that had been trending over recent weeks.

Royalists have been coming out in staged shows of support to show support for the Thai monarchy and counter the growing support of the recent Thai protest movement. The anti-government protesters have included demands for reform to the role of the Head of State, but have made it clear they don’t want to “get rid of the King”, a common rhetoric of Thai royalists, but instead want to codify the role of the Thai monarch, with limits on the monarch’s power, in a new Thai constitution.

The ‘Royal rallies’. also growing in number, have been in response to the ongoing anti-government demonstrations around the country.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Close encounter of the Royal kind - Thai King and Queen stop to praise a royal supporter | News by The Thaiger

Thitiwat Tanagaroo

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