Saudi-Thai tourism industry events in Jeddah and Riyadh were well attended, while TAT also formed strategic cooperation with Almosafer and Saudia to promote tourism to Thailand.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to report the great success of the first ever Amazing Thailand Roadshow to Saudi Arabia, following a return of cordial Saudi-Thai relations after 32 years. A total of 67 tourism businesses from Thailand took part in the roadshow, which included two events – one in Jeddah and one in Riyadh .
Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, said, “The roadshow served as a valuable opportunity for Saudi and Thai tourism businesses to discuss marketing and promotional activities in time for the Middle East’s summer travel season in July and August. The mission also marked the first time Thai tourism business embarked on tourism marketing activities in Saudi Arabia after 32 years.”
In March 2022, Saudi Arabia began to allow its nationals to once again visit Thailand. On 28 February, 2022, Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier Saudia started direct flights from Jeddah and Riyadh to Bangkok. Since then the number of Saudi travellers visiting Thailand has risen significantly.
The TAT’s roadshow to Saudi Arabia followed a strong showing for Thailand at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022 in Dubai, on 9-12 May, 2022.
Thai tourism businesses joining the TAT’s roadshow to Saudi Arabia included 35 hotels, five tour companies, four hospitals, one amusement park, and a number of members from the Phuket Tourism Business Association. Both events in Jeddah and Riyadh were well attended by over 300 local tour operators and travel agents with immediate bookings for travel to Thailand made at the event signalling high interest among Saudis in returning to Thailand.
Saudi Arabia is seen as a source tourist market with good growth potential for Thailand. Prior to the roadshow, TAT organised activities to educate Thai tourism operators on the Saudi tourist market, in the main destinations of Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. The focus was on target markets; such as, families, healthcare, and new Arab Millennials.
Meanwhile, on 16 May, 2022, H.E. Mr. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between TAT and Saudia. During the event, executives from TAT and Saudia discussed the promotion of two-way tourism between the two kingdoms, a request to increase annual quotas for Thai-Muslim groups to attend the Hajj ceremony, and for Saudia to consider increasing flight frequencies to Thailand, including introducing direct flights to Phuket. Meanwhile, Thailand is promoting halal tourism with plans to promote the establishment of halal food centres in Thai provinces.
Next, TAT and Saudia plan to organise a fam trip for Saudi travel agency representatives to visit Thailand and experience tourist attractions and services. This will be in conjunction with the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+ 2022) to take place on 8-10 June, 2022, in Phuket.
Another key development during the TAT’s mission to Saudi Arabia was the signing of another MOC with Almosafer, the largest online travel agency (OTA) in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as one of the top three largest OTAs in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The agreement is to boost tourism between Thailand and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries a focus on key niche markets like sports tourism, luxury tourism, and health and wellness tourism.
According to Almosafer, it had experienced a huge growth in interest for travel to Thailand with searches for Thailand’s tourism information on its website up over 470% from January 2022, and up over 1,100% in the first two weeks of May when compared to the first quarter of 2022. Thailand has become the fifth most popular destination for Saudis booking travel with 4,777 Saudi tourists arriving in the kingdom between 1-10 May, 2022.