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 June 12, 2003
1,500 Travel Agents And Media To Visit Thailand

 About 1,500 travel agents and travel journalists are to visit Thailand over the next few weeks as part of a "Mega Fam Trip" being organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thai Airways International (Public) Co., Ltd, and the private-sector Tourism Council of Thailand.

The objective of the fam (travel industry jargon for familiarisation) trip is to help international travel agents who sell Thailand and travel media who write about Thailand to see for themselves that life is going on normally and that visitors can enjoy themselves, without having to worry about SARS.

TAT Governor Mrs Juthamas said, "We want to show the world that our country is safe to travel in and free from SARS. We hope the agents and media, in their primary role as opinion-shapers, will reflect this in their writings and sales efforts."

The groups will visit Thailand in separate batches all through June-August and travel to popular tourism spots like Bangkok, Pattaya, Kanchanburi, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Krabi.

The really big groups of 330 guests from Europe will be in Thailand between June 11-18, 2003, about 190 guests from Russia during June 8-15, 2003, and about 120 guests from Japan during June 22-26, 2003.

The European group will include representatives from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The Russian group will include representatives from the CIS countries.

Other small groups will come from America, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Pakistan, Nepal and Indonesia during July and August.

Each group will be briefed on the current Thai tourism situation, the latest status of SARS as well as the preventive measures taken by both the Ministry of Public Health and representatives of World Health Organization, whose regional office for the Asia-Pacific is based in Bangkok.

THAI Airways international is sponsoring free tickets for all 1,500 guests on both the international and domestic routes. The airline has closely coordinated its plans with TAT overseas offices to ensure the selection of productive and professional travel agents and writers.

The Tourism Council of Thailand has also promised the best of ground arrangements and transfers.

Mrs Juthamas said, "Like other countries in Asia, Thailand has been affected by a huge decline in number of visitors as a result of SARS."

"The objectives of the Mega Fam Trip 2003 have been closely coordinated with the Thailand Smiles Plus Campaign, our main flagship campaign to stimulate arrivals from the target markets."

"We are very grateful to the co-operation and support being shown by both the Tourism Council of Thailand and THAI Airways during this difficult time," she said.