Tourism Authority of Thailand – New Delhi, Thai Airways and Thai Smile jointly conducts FAM trip to Bangkok

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Direct flights of Thai Smile from Kolkata to Bangkok have made the travel smoother than before and hassle-free.

Tourism Authority of Thailand – New Delhi (TAT – New Delhi), Thai Airways and Thai Smile organised a FAM trip for media and travel bloggers to showcase the Amazing Thailand experience in Bangkok from May 14 to 17.

Thai Smile continues to expand its new routes, reinforcing the airline with international aviation and service standards, seamlessly connecting with Thai Airways International. Thai Smile (WE)  is a fully owned subsidiary of Thai Airways International PCL (TG). It started five weekly flights to Kolkata effective March 31, 2019 and has changed its departure timing from Kolkata to Bangkok and vice versa from night to day time, effective May 2, 2019. This joint FAM trip was conducted to experience these newly introduced flight timings, making it convenient for travellers and avoid red-eye flights.

The Indian market is growing significantly due to increasing airline links with India’s secondary cities. In January – April 2019, visitors from India to Thailand was 614,162 (+27.53 pc) and the revenue increase by 29.45%. Isra Stapanaseth, Director of the TAT New Delhi office said that “India is one of our top six markets for both leisure and MICE. The sheer geographical, ethnic and cultural diversity of India itself is a huge opportunity because of the numerous holidays celebrated by each of the different states and religious groups.”

“Our marketing strategy ‘Amazing Thailand-Open to the New Shades’ will be the key driver for the Indian market to target family, first-time travellers, senior citizens as well as millennial who are seeking experience and luxury,” he continued. “Some of the major Indian markets for Thailand include Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata among the metro cities and Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow from Tier II and Raipur, Guwahati and Bhubaneshwar from Tier III cities,” he added.

The Director also stated, “FAM trips definitely helps to understand and gain the first-hand experience of the products and new places and further to promote the same. We have recently planned few fam trips to various new destinations in and around Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.”

The group was hosted in Amari Watergate by ONYX Hospitality Group located in the vibrant Pratunam neighbourhood in downtown Petchburi. This 5-star property has the best Bangkok has to offer, whether you are there for business or leisure, romance or family fun.

The Trip

The carefully curated itinerary helped showcase the best of Bangkok’s new emerging destinations to the group.

On the first day, the group visited ICON SIAM, located along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It is a new shopping mall with iconic stores of the world’s greatest luxury brands, created with one-of-a-kind architectural design.

The next stop for the group was Mahanakhon SkyWalk, Thailand’s highest observation deck at King Power Mahanakhon. King Power Mahanakhon is Thailand’s new architectural landmark, located in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district at Chong Nonsi BTS station. The 78-storey mixed-use development is also home to the Ritz-Carlton Residence, King Power Retail and Duty-Free and King Power Mahanakhon SkyWalk – a state-of-the-art observation deck boasting of the city’s most epic views at 314 meters. The observation deck offers 360-degree panoramic views from indoor and outdoor viewing areas, including Bangkok’s highest rooftop bar and a 63 sq m glass tray floor.

The final stop of the day for the group was Art in Paradise, Bangkok’s first 3D drawing museum located on the 4th floor of Esplanade Ratchada, which boasts of more than 150 pictures that 15 painters have painted ‘by hand’, purely and delicately, capturing every detail.

On the second day, the group headed for Samut Songkhram to visit the Maeklong Railway Market, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Ban Bang Plab Community.

Maeklong Railway Market is a local market commonly known as Siang Tai (life-risking) Market. Spread over a 100-metre length, the market is located by the railways, near Maeklong Railway Station. The market is called ‘life-risking’ market because the stalls are attached to the Maeklong-Ban Laem railway, which is a short railway line running from and to Mahachai and Maeklong. The parasol-closing event happens eight times per day according to the time that trains leave Mahachai for Maeklong and depart Maeklong for Mahachai.

The group ended their trip with a gala night at the Chao Phraya Dinner Cruise.

Thai Smile non-stop flight from India to Bangkok

The Kolkata-Bangkok (CCU-BKK) flight flies from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport, Kolkata to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok five times every week (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). This is an effort to strengthen the flights on the Indian routes. Currently, Thai Smile operates in four destinations in India, with more than 19 flights per week, aimed at supporting the top-level target group of Indian passengers who desire to experience the superior comfort and the best service from the new Airbus A320-200 aircraft. It also aims to open new perspectives for Thai passengers to visit interesting cities in India.

Charita Leelayudth, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Thai Smile Airways Co Ltd said, “Thai Smile is very proud and ready to open more routes to India. It is a region that we value because the number of passengers keeps growing. Our main targets are group of businessmen, MICE, tourists, family with relatives in Thailand, or even couples travel to arrange their weddings and honeymoon in Thailand. Cooperation with various agencies also creates new opportunities for business. The constant promotional campaign for tourism in Thailand, to visit both major cities and vice cities has also played a key part. The route that THAI Smile opens is considered an exotic destination that attracts a new group of Thai tourists to travel to India more and more.”

Kolkata-Bangkok route provides services to passengers in two classes: Smile Plus (Premium Economy) and Smile Class (Economy Class). Passengers will receive in-flight meal and beverage, get to avail free seat selection and free baggage allowance up to 40 kg and Royal Orchid Plus Mileage for the Smile Plus class. THAI Smile is also offering a special discount for round-trip tickets on the inauguration of the new route, Kolkata-Bangkok (CCU-BKK) starting at INR 9,100/person/round-trip (all inclusive).

Passengers travelling from India to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok can also plan their trips to major cities and secondary cities throughout Thailand. These cities are rich in tourist attractions, be it nature, culture, sightseeing, beautiful beaches and also have many shopping areas. THAI Smile is ready to connect the travellers to 10 destinations in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Surat Thani, Narathiwat and Krabi.

For international routes, THAI Smile also operates 17 international flights to destinations including Yangon, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Changsha, Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Kaohsiung, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kolkata, Jaipur, Bangkok – Hong Kong and Phuket – Hong Kong. There is a plan to further increase the flight frequency of domestic flights and launch new international routes.

Free Visa on Arrival

Thailand has already launched a temporary Visa on Arrival fee exemption scheme last year, which is now extended up to October 31, 2019. During this period, Visa on Arrival (VoA) fee of THB 2,000 will be exempted for Indian nationals as well as passport holders from countries/territory of Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Thailand VoA will allow tourists to enter the Kingdom for tourism purposes and allow stay for up to 15 days.

Regarding the extension of the visa-on-arrival fee waiver, the Director commented, “Thailand remains one of the most popular destinations for luxury and budget travellers alike. Many people head to Thailand because of the ease of obtaining a Visa on Arrival, without any considerations. The Thai Government decided to waive off the visa fee from November 2018 till October 31, 2019 in order to boost tourism and revenue.”