Tourism Authority Of Thailand Takes Tourism Education To A New Level

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has created “The Academy Centre” which is supposed to be THE place to gain knowledge on Thai Tourism.

Sadly, this will be just another in the long list of failures at the Tourism Authority of Thailand as this Academy will focus on what worked 50 years ago (conventions) and will not properly explain social media.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Laem Mae Phim

Tourism Authority of Thailand Laem Mae Phim

The primary cause for the upcoming failure at the Tourism Authority of Thailand Academy Centre is that TAT will rely on educators from Thailand and ignore the international community where they could actually learn a thing or two.

Let me go through the article and explain more why the Tourism Authority of Thailand will fail once again:

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has inaugurated an Academy Centre to help the Thai travel and tourism industry better understand global market trends, the wider forces of change affecting the way the industry operates, and how Thailand can respond to them.

This is like the blind leading the blind. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has no idea how to market domestically or to foreigners other than posting fluff articles claiming all is well in the Kingdom and tourists are flocking to Thailand. TAT announces that one million visitors arrived in a span of 9 days and another 1 million in 10 days and yet yesterday we are told that two tennis stars visited Thailand for an exhibition match to save Thailand’s struggling tourism industry. How can it be struggling if the Tourism Council of Thailand upped this year’s forecast from 28.8 million to 30 million despite the Bangkok bombing of the Erawan shrine that killed 20 and injured 125+ while Thailand is being ruled by a dictator. And, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand predicts 50 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2018. It is plain to see that all the folks at the Tourism Authority of Thailand can do is make wild ass predictions with nothing to back them up.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, presided over the opening ceremony on 30 September, 2015. The ceremony was attended by nearly 200 Thai tourism academics, former TAT Governors and officials of TAT, Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the private sector.

Thai Tourism academics is an oxymoron. Why? Well, the latest ratings on universities just came out and Thailand’s best school, Mahidol University, ranks in the 501-600 range (exact number not given) with all other Thai Universities ranking lower. How can they be considered academics?

In his statement, Mr. Yuthasak said, “The Academy Centre has been set up as part of the TAT’s strategic vision to develop a centre of knowledge for the travel market and disseminate knowledge through academic networks and experts both nationally and internationally. Its main objective will be to upgrade and build the capacity of personnel in both TAT as well as the Thai tourism industry at large.”

Lots of meaningless words coming from the unqualified Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The opening ceremony featured a special lecture on “Unleash the Power of Knowledge towards Excellence” by former TAT Governor Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni. He gave a powerful historical perspective on how Thai tourism has evolved over the years, dealt with crises, and taken advantage of opportunities.

Let’s see. Dealt with crisis – floods, bombings, coups – all dealt with the same – give out “updates” that are 2-3 days old complete with misinformation and lies and publish as many fluff articles as possible in the hopes that they convince the rest of the world to visit Thailand. The problem is that this is the old school way of thinking – back when no one knew what went on in Thailand other than what was reported in the Bangkok Post or The Nation. Now, with social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the dirty secrets of Thailand are no longer hidden. What opportunities have been taken advantage of? The Toursim Authority of Thailand has had one marketing video that was a success (I Hate Thailand) and failed to capitalize on it. Instead, TAT then came out with an Instagram stalker video.

A discussion was also organised on “knowledge transformation” featuring Mr. Tomorn Sookprecha, Mr. Sarawut Hengsawad and Mr. Teepagorn Wuttipitayamongkol.

These are all media guys – magazines and advertising – and I am guessing that they are clueless when it comes to marketing to foreigners. Speaking of foreigners, where are the international instructors?

A detailed package of material prepared by TAT for the event included country profiles of all the ASEAN member countries. Other publications outlined how the Thai tourism industry has performed over the years, especially in the face of local, regional and global crises.

Probably the same fact sheets that are on the TAT Contact Center web site stolen from the ASEAN China Centre website. The Thai Tourism performance publications must only have been one sheet as I already explained how the Tourism Authority of Thailand handles a crisis. And, why is everything in print?

In his speech, Mr. Yuthasak noted the new Academy will play a leading role in converting the data and research of the TAT Intelligence Centre into specific strategic and policy measures for decision makers across the board.

More big words that are meaningless since the data input will be skewed making the output worthless.

“The Academy has gathered a large database of knowledge about the travel market over the last five decades and developed it with various scholars and leading academic institutions. It is now important to make use of this to strengthen our leadership in tourism and ensure a systematic transfer of knowledge through networking, research and innovation.”

And, just where is this 50 years of knowledge? The Tourism Authority of Thailand can’t even post their own photos and has to either steal them or get tourists to post them in a contest. Any Thai Tourism revenue data is worthless as the Tourism Authority of Thailand has no idea how much any tourist spends. And, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has no way of tracking domestic tourism. Does the TAT know I flew from Khon Kaen to Bangkok and then hired a car and driver to take me to Rayong where I spent three weeks on a beach? NO!

TAT will also provide educational courses via “Learning from Excellence Programmes” for both the public and private sectors.

This new Tourism Authority of Thailand Academy Centre will probably fall along the wayside like the TAT Contact Center (English pages not updated in 2 years), the Bureau of Prevention and Assistance in Tourist Fraud on Facebook page where nothing has been updated since July 2014, and the Winkreative “Modern Thailand” campaign that the Tourism Authority of Thailand paid millions for which is now a dead website.

Yes, this will definitely be another Tourism Authority of Thailand fail bringing Thai Tourism education to the subterranean level.

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Categories:   TAT, Thailand


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