PHUKET: Officials believe a tourism road-show to South Africa last month will lift the number of visitors to Phuket and the region by more than 20,000 based on the levels of interest. Anupharp Thirarath, Director of the local Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office, visited South Africa from July 13-20 with representatives from 40 tour companies based in Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi. In Capetown and Johannesburg, more than 200 tour companies took in the TAT’s show. South Africa was a new embarkation point for Thai tourism, with few visitors from this part of the world so far, K. Anupharp said. Since the roadshow returned, six South African tour companies had announced plans to inspect hotels and facilities here. K. Anupharp said the TAT is also looking to expand markets in Eastern Europe and the Middle East soon. “[Tourists from] those countries are high-spending,” he said. Direct flights to those regions were a key to future expansion, he said.
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