Interview

Hatsanai Chaisri: Thailand: a land of diversity

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March 4, 2020

Hatsanai Chaisri is a Tourism Authority of Thailand Marketing Manager in charge of 15 countries in the Middle East & North Africa.

TAT opened its Dubai & Middle East office in 2007, to encourage tourism from both Thai and Middle Eastern travellers and showcase Thailand’s unique offerings.

The luxury market is changing. How are you adapting your offering?

The rise of transformative travel is being seen across all sectors, but particularly luxury.

These days, immersing oneself in a different culture and embracing everything local is a given. There is nothing more life-changing than a vacation that will make you come back a changed person – transformative travel.

There’s been an increasing number of educated guests choosing specific retreats that cater to holistic wellness, and now more travellers are looking for experiences that can transform them. They seek to make not only memories, but also a global difference.

This could be including goal setting into holidays, whether it’s climbing a mountain, going on a hike or embarking on a multi-city cycling tour. Incorporating a challenge allows you to see another side of a destination and of yourself.

Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand

There’s a number of off-the-beaten-path itineraries in Thailand that provide an enriching experience for luxury travellers away from the tourist trails.

Tourism Authority of Thailand has partnered with luxury tour operator Remote Lands to promote the lesser-known areas of Thailand beyond Bangkok, Phuket, and Koh Samui. Itineraries range from Koh Kood Island and riding on a rice barge to Ayutthaya, to staying in a tented camp and visiting elephant sanctuaries.

The Golden Triangle – the name given to the area where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet – is a legendarily beautiful corner of Southeast Asia. And this luxury camp, which is backed by jungles patrolled by majestic elephants, captures the essence of the area perfectly.

Indeed, elephants are central to the camp’s appeal, with guests being offered unique opportunities to get up close with Thailand’s gentle giants.

The camp’s tents, meanwhile, are situated high in the treetops and boast open-plan spaces and large outdoor decks with hot tubs.

Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand

Being a guest at the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle means an opportunity to engage with Thailand’s gentle giants in their natural habitat in the most personal way possible.

Three- and four-day itineraries have been devised around elephants – from learning some basic mahout (elephant rider) skills to feeding and caring for the animals, trekking through lush forests and witnessing the elephants’ favourite part of the day: washing (and playing) in the river.

Our guests have assisted in the adoption of more than 10 elephants from the streets, providing them with food and veterinary care through a monthly membership.

Donations through the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) go directly to the welfare of adopted elephants, as Four Seasons Tented Camp at Golden Triangle covers all administration and logistical support.

Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand

Who are your guests? Have your demographics changed, or have they stayed the same?

The Middle East is home to a youthful population in comparison to the rest of the world, and millennials in the MENA are the highest spenders globally, typically spending twice as much as their European counterparts (according to Visa). We consider our main demographic to be residents of this region as our main focus.

Millennials in MENA typically spend longer hours at work, having less time for personal activities. With a fast-paced mindset, they rely on immediate advice, seamless transactions, and 24/7 services. Thailand is a destination that caters to these needs, offering millennials instant and hassle-free services including lodging, dining, wellness, and adventure, making it the perfect vacation getaway.

With Thailand’s captivating beauty, millennials all over the Middle East are one of the best target audiences for the destination and are generally more aware of the services on offer.

Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand

Millennials globally tend to be indecisive and experimental consumers; however, according to the Google Consumer Barometer, millennials in MENA demonstrate significantly more brand loyalty, with 43% of UAE millennials only considering one brand while purchasing flights compared to 9% in Australia. Based on the findings, Thailand’s bespoke and personalised style of service is an important factor that allows a more customised journey to suit their interests and preferences, making them loyal to the destination when planning for vacations.

Bangkok, Thailand

What does luxury mean to you?

Luxury is a truly personalised experience – utmost perfection and professionalism beyond expectations. Travellers seeking luxury in Thailand will find upscale luxury products, yet they will also find bespoke and tailor-made services that truly provide a memorable experience. It is this level of personalisation that has allowed vacationers to Thailand to return on a regular basis.

Doi Inthanon,  Thailand

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