We went to Thailand!
International travel has become special for everyone since spring 2020 due to the global pandemic. So if you’re going to make an effort to go, you want to go somewhere special and make it a memorable experience!
Although travel restrictions and measures vary from country to country and region to region, many countries are beginning to accept travelers from abroad. Thailand was the first country in Asia to welcome back travelers from overseas. From July 2022, it is possible to enter Thailand with only a passport and a vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test certificate within 72 hours prior to departure if not vaccinated.
*For more information about re-entry into Japan, click here: When returning to Japan from Thailand, a certificate of infection clearance conducted within 72 hours prior to departure and a certificate of vaccination are required (as of July 1).
Incidentally, at the time of our visit to Thailand (June 5-13), departing from Japan (Haneda Airport) and entering Thailand (Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport) was smooth. All of our documents were appropriately prepared in advance: passport, proof of vaccination, and a “Thai Passport” (a digital registration that serves as proof of your corona clearance); we were able to enter Thailand very quickly.
One reason for the trip was to participate in “Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2022” in Phuket. The first in-person large-scale travel industry event to be held domestically in three years. It’s a major convention for the tourism industry, organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, serving as a platform to match business partners. For Thailand, where the tourism industry supports 22% of the economy (in 2019), tourism is the heart of the economy, so despite all the fancy food and beaches, this was serious business for all.
Thailand Travel Mart (commonly known as TTM) has adopted a new catchphrase, “Amazing New Chapters,” and is focusing on promoting tourism that is also environmentally friendly and sustainable.
While it’s essential to keep the new coronavirus under control, we want to promote tourism while maintaining a balance,” said Chuwit Sirivajjakul, Executive Director, East Asia Region, Tourism Authority of Thailand.
A total of 639 people participated in TTM between June 8-10, including 277 buyers from 42 countries, 90 members of the media, and 264 sellers from within Thailand. The venue for the welcome party held on the first day was a 17,000 m2 lagoon replicating the ocean at the Blue Tree Phuket, a vast resort facility. A variety of food and beverage booths, including vegetarian and halal, using local ingredients, lined the outdoor area.
The style of food served is also an expression of the future tourism that Thailand aims for.
Attention to detail was everywhere; all cups and straws were either paper or made of edible materials. Consideration is also given to limiting food loss, and almost all the food has been consumed by the end of the event,
At TTM, we often hear the phrases “community-based tourism,” “responsible tourism,” “organic,” and “eco-tour,” in addition to the obvious “sustainable.” Understanding these emerging tourism styles is required by all, including the local communities, travel agencies, and the tourists themselves.
For example, the elephant tours, one of the most popular activities in Thailand, reappear at one place as “Elephant Care Tourism.” Instead of just riding the animals, visitors help take care of them. The company is committed to raising travelers’ awareness of animal welfare and conservation by requiring everyone involved in the tours to understand the importance of animal welfare and protection.
In addition, these new kinds of tourism are designed to distribute income to local communities throughout the country, improve the quality of life of local residents, and promote the preservation of Thai culture and traditions.
As part of their strategy to attract “quality” tourists to Thailand, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand focus on community-based tourism. After the TTM, we visited a Muslim community that grows coconuts and pineapples to learn more about this community-based tourism.
This community earns income by sharing a glimpse of their natural resources and local culture and provides opportunities for travelers to learn about the community through activities related to the environment and culture. Of course, visitors also have fun learning how to harvest pineapples and make coconut-based sweets.
Responsible and sustainable travel, with an emphasis on minimizing environmental impact as the norm for the future and preserving the balance between social and economic activities and the natural environment, is the future of tourism in Thailand. High-quality tourism materials that enrich lifestyles through wellness, sports, culture, and nature will likely make purposeful travel a reality.
Next time, we will report on the places we visited, including:
• Walking course through less-visited parts of Bangkok
• Bangkok’s fabulous rooftop nightlife and markets
• State-of-the-art wellness and medical retreat
• The city’s most cutting-edge MICE destinations