Australian Travel Media to convene in Thailand for the third time
Thailand is to again host the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) during 16-19 August, 2018. Since its founding in 1975, the ASTW has previously convened its AGM twice in Thailand (1999 and 2009).
As of today, a total of 113 ASTW members have registered including writers, photographers, editors, bloggers, influencers, public relations officers, and representatives of various hotel groups and national tourism boards.
Hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) with the support of Thai Airways International and Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, the ASTW meeting is designed to generate positive publicity for Thailand across Australia’s online and traditional media channels in a highly competitive environment.
Australia is a small-population, medium-haul source market with a high average length of stay (13.78 days in 2016). In 2017, Thailand received 65 billion Baht in tourism revenue from the Australian market. Because Australia is not a high-volume market, TAT concentrates its promotions at specific niche markets; such as, female travellers and millennials, both classified as middle-class with high purchasing power.
As such, TAT has structured the programme content of the ASTW tours to reach these target markets. In line with the umbrella strategy of ‘Open to the New Shades’, they will enhance awareness of Thai tourism products and local experiences.
The tours will cover several secondary cities and local communities as part of the national tourism policy to give more marketing exposure to the emerging provincial destinations. Apart from Bangkok, the tours will cover Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae and Nan, Kanchanaburi, Samut Songkhram, Trat, Phang Nga, and Krabi.
Delegates on the Kanchanaburi tour will travel the infamous Death Railway from the River Kwai Bridge, visit Hellfire Pass, visit an elephant sanctuary and go on a firefly night cruise in Samut Songkhram, while those on the Krabi tour will visit the charming Muslim enclave of Ko Klang, learn to fish with the locals, and go island-hopping.
In Trat, an unknown gem in the Gulf of Thailand near the Cambodian border, delegates will learn how to make Ya Na crackers, weave ‘Ngop’ (farmer’s hats) with palm leaves, and cruise to small islands within the Mu Ko Chang National Park. While in Chiang Rai, delegates will visit the White Temple to marvel at its wild murals and travel through beautiful mountain scenery in Doi Mae Salong.
Alongside the AGM, the ASTW also holds its Awards night to recognise outstanding achievements by members of the Society as well as contributions made by travel and tourism-related organisations to advance the Society’s goals.
Prizes include the Excellence in Travel Journalism as well as awards in the Destination, Trade and Photography categories. PR members are eligible for the ASTW Communicator of the Year Award, as voted by the writer members, for outstanding professional services to ASTW members.
Over many years, TAT has extended significant support to Australian media representatives, members of the Society and individual members in organising fam trips, running destination marketing, advertising and promotional campaigns and regularly attending ASTW events.