TAT sets tall order for Toronto office

Proudly contributed by Don Ross

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From left (standing): Tanes Petsuwan, TAT deputy governor for marketing communications; H.E. Maris Sangiampongsa, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Canada; Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the board of the TAT; Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT governor; and Srisuda Wananpinyosak, TAT deputy governor for international marketing – Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has opened its 28th overseas office in Toronto with a clear mission to boost high spend travel from Canada to Thailand.

In 2017, Canadian tourist arrivals to Thailand reached 258,392, up by 5.52% over 2016. This contributed an estimated income of CAD 845.9 million, a growth of 7.61%.

Statistics indicate Canada is a slow, but steady climber, supplying high-spend visits to Thailand.

It doesn’t appear in Thailand’s top 10 source market, eight of which each contribute more than 1 million visits a year, with China the top with just short of 9 million.

In that context, Canada is well down the list of potential destinations that could reach 1 million visits a year by 2025, but the mission is to increase high-spend visits rather than head count.

The TAT Toronto Office was officially opened on 23 April, 2018 by the TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn, the TAT Governor and deputy governor for marketing communications Tanes Petsuwan.

TAT’s chairman, Kalin Sarasin, and deputy governor for international marketing Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas,  Srisuda Wananpinyosak, also visited Toronto for the opening ceremony.

TAT has appointed Puangpen Klanwari director of TAT Toronto.  This is now TAT’s third office in North America after New York and Los Angeles.

“We chose Toronto, the capital city of Ontario, because it is one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America, said the TAT chairman, Kalin Sarasin. “We believe it will be a perfect location to cover Canada, which has been identified in our current marketing plan as a high potential market with a long average length of stay and strong purchasing power.”

In 2016, the average length of stay for Canadian travellers in Thailand was approximately 16 days with an expenditure per day of around CAD 172 per person.  Surveys suggest 60% of Canadians are repeat visitors.

Ontario was the largest source of Canadian travellers to Thailand in 2017, with a market share of 45%.

Based on survey estimates tourism revenue from the Canadian market, 2013 to 2017, improved 6% on average annually over the five years. However, based on opening an office in Toronto, TAT forecasts it can now increase revenue by 8.46% annually from the market.

Canadians can visit Thailand visa-free for 30 days as long as they have a return air ticket.

The downside is the lack of direct flights from Canada to any city in Thailand. But TAT believes it can develop travel bookings to Thailand by working closely  with what it calls partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific, EVA Airways, Emirates, Qatar, Korean Airlines and Air Canada to fly travellers to Thailand via their own one-stop services or through codeshare flights.

Air Canada and Cathay Pacific offer the best fares between Toronto and Bangkok with a stop in Hong Kong and a change plane. The best offer is a roundtrip fare of CAD 1,495, including taxes and fees. Trip time, end-to-end, is 20 hours and 15 minutes.  There is a change of planes and airlines in Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific does the entire trip with a stop in Hong Kong in 21 hours for a fare of CAD 1,888. KAL pegs its fare at about the same level with a change of planes in Seoul.

Emirates and Qatar Airways, identified as TAT’s partners to promote travel from Canada don’t figure out of the Toronto gateway, unless you want to pay CAD 2,495 for a flight on Emirates with a change of plane in Dubai  and two stops on the trip home.

From Vancouver, the west coast gateway, the best fare is on Vietnam Airlines at CAD 1,064, rountrip, for a 23-hour, 55-minute end-to-end trip to Bangkok with  change of plane in Ho Chi Minh City.

Read full article at TTRWeekly: http://www.ttrweekly.com/site/2018/04/tat-sets-tall-order-for-toronto-office/

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