BANGKOK – Tourism industry leaders in Thailand are to press for new, effective measures that improve safety and security for business and leisure travelers throughout the Kingdom.
A conference in Bangkok on Thursday, November14, will present findings from four workshops held last month (October 15) that addressed a broad range of issues threatening constantly to damage Thailand’s tourism image and reputation.
The workshops looked at ways of combating well-established “scams” that target tourists; how to better inform and educate visitors before they arrive in Thailand; how to raise awareness of the need for robust risk and crisis management planning and, finally, how to improve liaison and cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The conference is a combined effort that utilizes the knowledge and expertise of two major travel and tourism organizations – Skal International and the Pacific Asia Travel Association Thailand Chapter – under the auspices of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand. Conference delegates will hear two keynote addresses from guest speakers David Beirman, Senior Lecturer in Tourism at the University of Technology in Sydney and Dr. Alexandros Paraskevas, Senior Lecturer in Strategic Risk Management at the Oxford School of Hospitality Management in the UK.
Bert van Walbeek, Chairman of PATA Thailand Chapter, is convinced that the conference will recommend a series of realistic and practical measures designed to protect Thailand’s tourism reputation and, importantly, forge even stronger links between government ministries and public bodies such as the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the broad range of private sector companies that deliver travel and tourism services.
“We will invite the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to accept the findings of the conference in the form of a written declaration. Our challenge will then be to implement the recommendations of our two expert speakers. That requires real commitment and partnership,” said Mr. van Walbeek.
Dale Lawrence, President of Skal International Bangkok, said that while Thailand’s tourism industry has bounced back from adversity time and time again in recent years there was no guaranteed immunity against natural and man-made disasters.
“This conference is an exceptional opportunity to secure Thailand’s tourism future. It’s time to stop brushing unsavory issues under the carpet. Now we must act in unison to ensure that all business and leisure travelers leave Thailand with enjoyable and memorable experiences. If this conference produces solutions that better protect their interests and, at the same time, enhances the reputation of Thailand as a safe and secure destination then we will be on the right track,” said Mr. Lawrence.
Stanley Kang, Chairman of the JFCCT, said, “Amongst the membership of the 30 JFCCT chambers there are many tourism operators, individual owners, managers and employees that are tourists in Thailand on a regular basis. It is in all of Thailand’s interests that tourists are well taken care of whilst holidaying in this wonderful land. Tourism is a massive source of income for Thailand and its people. With modern communications tools, every small bad story is highlighted many times around the world within minutes of it occurring.
“This news not only affects the single location or operator where the event takes place but, in effect, brands Thailand and all its people and tourism operators as a whole. We cannot, and should not, stop these stories from spreading but we should take great care that these actual events are very few and far between. The JFCCT fully supports the outcome of the conference and will work with our member chambers to assist in the implementation of the recommendations,” added Mr. Kang.
The conference, which will be conducted in English, is free of charge for all delegates and takes place at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside hotel, Bangkok. The program begins at 1:30 pm, Thursday, November 14. Registration desk opens at 12:30 pm.
Source: Skal International Bangkok