By James Wilkinson in Bangkok
Bangkok is once more on the hot list for conference and incentive trips, with Thai Airways reporting a surge in quotes and bookings for travel over the next 18 months.
Thai is reporting a surge in MICE bookings
Thai Airways Marketing Manager Australia, Sue Marr, said the airline was also not just seeing interest in the Thai capital but across the country and the region as a whole.
“After a very flat year this year, our groups department is very busy quoting well into 2010 and 2011 – Thailand, Asia and Europe routes are all popular,” she told SpiceNews.
Marr said group and incentive bookings are “getting better every day with group sizes increasing along with the length of stay”, while expectations remain positive for the next 12 months.
“Because of the conservative approach from many organisations this year, we’re expecting some solid growth for the next year (but) we’re already seeing that in the quote and booking patterns,” she said.
Marr said Thai Airways routes to and from Australia are performing well at present, despite the economic downturn still playing a major factor for airlines globally.
“Our aim is for 70 per-cent loads across the network and most of the Australian services are achieving this goal and more,” she said.
“September and October are doing very well as traditionally these months see a strong traffic movements to/from Europe for late summer. And while the early Europe season was soft this year it’s pleasing to see some improving trends at the back-end of the year.
“The non-stop Perth to Phuket route is always good and reflects the importance of the destination to the West Australian market,” she said.
Thailand is the focus for Australia’s travel writing community this week, with around 200 members of the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) descending on Bangkok for the organisation’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday (Aug 22).
Thai Airways and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are the major sponsors of the ASTW AGM, which also includes pre- and post-conference familiarisation tours to all corners of Thailand.
Marr said there were a number of reasons why Thai Airways elected to sponsor the ASTW event for 2009.
“Thailand is our home-base and geographically and strategically, it’s a very important regional hub for our key routes into Europe, the Middle-East, China, India and Indochina,” she said.
“It’s important that we support and maintain Thailand as a viable stopover option wherever they travel on our worldwide network.
“The value of Thailand is incomparable and whilst it has many options as a complete destination itself, Thai’s flight operations at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport make it easier for everyone including transit, transfer and stopover travellers.
“It makes perfect sense for Thai to partner with TAT to take the ASTW AGM to Thailand this year and it is perfect timing for both of us to reap the rewards of a re-energised consumer demand for international travel,” Marr said.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Public Relations Manager – Australia, Pongsak Kanittanon, said ASTW members and their partners could expect a typically warm, Thai welcome this weekend.
“Thailand is very keen to showcase its traditional hospitality as well as its many attractions throughout the Kingdom,” he said.
The ASTW AGM generates hundreds of travel stories each year for the host destination, which in recent years has included Shanghai, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Wellington, Seoul and Ho Chi Minh City.