Foreign Tourists Appreciate TAT for Much Needed Assistance

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Asia » Thailand
February 12th 2009
Published: February 12th 2009
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Since their birth almost 40 years ago, the international award-winning Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has, like the rest of the country, witnessed a kaleidoscope of political and social milestones; and this year, 2008, has certainly been no exception. Over all those years the TAT has been whole-heartedly dedicated to serving, welcoming and advising tourists to Thailand.

With the events of late November and the closure of both Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports, the TAT alongside the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) and Thai Hotels Association (THA) took upmost strides in assisting stranded foreign tourists unable to leave the country.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s top and foremost priority was to immediately provide accommodation and meals for those affected at top-class middle of the range hotels at all the major tourist destinations in Thailand. The compensation offered was worth up to 2,000 baht a day and valid from 25 November till 9 December. Besides offering much needed accommodation, the TAT went to great lengths to provide round-the-clock 24 hour information with both online and offline crisis centers.

Moreover, Thai Airways arranged additional much sought after flights from the temporary Utapao Airport and other airports throughout the countries.

The feedback the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the government has received from those who had been stranded has been both encouraging and uplifting. Shane Bibby from the UK wrote in to say,

“TAT has been outstanding in assisting trapped tourists in Thailand and I hope that the country and its wonderful people will be able to resolve the problems. Thailand is still one of my favourite holiday destinations”

Another stranded tourist Barbara Candrian from Switzerland said in her email

“Thanks very much to the TAT for your information, it helped me a lot. With your help, I received my new ticket from Thai Airways. The information you gave me was all that I needed”.

Stephen Fisher from the UK, a stranded backpacker in Bangkok said

“The accommodation and meals at the Prince Palace Hotel the TAT gave me were excellent. The staff were on hand to help all day long with information on getting a flight home. In fact, the room was the best I had stayed in during my time in Thailand. I will be back to your country soon. I am already missing it”.

SeymourVt a member of a popular Thailand forum commented

“Just call TAT, or Ministry of Tourism, and speak to them - they will explain everything. It is very simple, make the call they will explain, and you will be taken care of”.

Other forum comments included:

“The Tourism Authority of Thailand are doing their best to help stranded tourists and offering free accommodation and meals worth up to 2,000 baht day” (by Frank_bkk)
“……so better to have something than nothing... but they are really organised downstairs updating the bulletin board and letting people know what is going on.. credit where credit is due...” (by Chelle L Bee)
“I am presently stranded in Bangkok and the TAT have provided me with a free hotel and three meals a day……I hope these may help other tourists stranded, and a big thanks to the TAT for looking after me” (by Billy Boy)

Realizing tourists’ predicaments due to the airports’ closure, the TAT wanted no more than to give the once stranded passengers the best farewell possible when Suvarnabhumi Airport was re-opened for business. On the day of the official re-opening ceremony, passengers were greeted by Thai ladies in traditional costumes including the current Miss Thailand and entertained by the world famous Joe Louis Puppet Theater.

Mrs Phornsiri Manoharn the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand was also there that day to welcome tourists who had just arrived. Then, for those wishing to come again to Thailand, the Ministry of Culture kindly distributed tickets for free admission to historical parks and museums. A well-known Thailand based blogger and webmaster who was also there that day wrote: “Many of the people (passengers) I spoke to said that they appreciated the warm hospitality of the Thai people and that they would definitely come back again. Though, they also added, that they were happy to be finally on their way home!”

Finally, the TAT are offering their sincerest apologies to all those who were affected by the closure of the airports, and hope that with a little understanding, will once again come and visit the ever welcoming kingdom.


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