Bangkok, Thailand, March 3, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism leaders call for a full opening up of the country as concerns emerge that Thailand is losing the initiative to regional competitors and will not achieve 10 million arrivals in 2022. More than 500 delegates, including many of Thai tourism and hospitality’s most senior figures, came together at the 11th Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF 2022) on 1st March 2022, with the aim of charting a strong and sustainable path out of the global pandemic.
TTF 2022, Thailand’s largest annual tourism and hospitality event, taking place as the industry grapples with an unprecedented period of crisis, opportunity, threat and disruption, ran under the theme #ThaiTourismUnited and kicked off with the Thailand Tourism Leadership Summit, which saw influential CEOs set out their joint vision for the future and jointly sign the Thailand Tourism Pledge.
Together, these leaders committed to forging a new strategic direction for Thailand, including placing tourism at the forefront of the national economy, putting the service sector back to work, achieving sustainable growth, and making international visitors feel safe and secure. The Thailand Tourism Pledge will lay the foundations upon which Thai tourism can be rebuilt from the ground up, following the devastation of the global pandemic.
Key to the discussion and among the excitement of the opportunity to create a better tourism future for Thailand, was a clear call by all leaders that it was time the country fully opened up.
Ms. Proudputh Liptapanlop, Executive Director of Proud Group, which owns numerous tourism assets including two InterContinental branded hotels in Hua Hin and Phuket, said: “In Thailand we need to open up. We need everyone to understand that we need to open up the country for their good and for the benefit of the country.”
Mr. Bill Heinecke, Chairman/Founder Minor International, added: “If we don’t open up we can’t be competitive. Currently the rules are just too complicated. We are not even 10% of where we were pre-Covid and Thailand will not reach its target of 10 million arrivals in 2022. We are falling behind. We are not even keeping up with our neighbours.”
“There’s no choice anymore,” commented Marisa Sukosol, President of Thailand Hotels Association. “Thailand must open up and stop Test & Go. In fact, it must Let It Go! We need to move our mentality from a pandemic to an endemic.”
(from left) Bill Heinecke, Chairman/Founder Minor International; Proudputh Liptapanlop, Executive Director, Proud Group; Marisa Sukosol, President of the Thailand Hotel Association.
TTF 2022 kicked off with a series of addresses, debates and discussions to help attendees devise strategies to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic era. Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific, presented the latest critical data, while Clarence Tan of Hilton and Charles Blocker, CEO of IC Partners, discussed “Why Hotel Operators Must Change”, Jakkrapong Chinkrathok, CEO & founder of Find Folk, focused on environmental issues with his “Green Thailand” session, and Wimintra Raj, Editor-in-Chief at Hotel Intel, went “Behind the Mask” to discuss new travel experiences. Other hot topics on the quickfire agenda included cryptocurrencies, hybrid spaces, hotel transactions and more.
Mr. Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, concluded: “The reason we are here in-person is that this is where it starts. Travelling again starts today. We have to open the country and be competitive with Vietnam and the Maldives and put our service sector back to work.”
TTF 2022 was hosted in compliance with all necessary health and safety regulations. The host venue, Conrad Bangkok, is SHA+ certified and all attendees will be required show proof of two vaccinations.