The love affair between Irish long-haul travellers and Amazing Thailand continues apace as the latest figures show that 21,260 visitors came from Ireland, an increase of 7.5% for the first four months of this year. This shows that Thailand is still a great value for money destination, particularly for honeymooners.
Last year a total of of 64,716 Irish went to Thailand, according to Tanes Petsuwan, Tourist Authority of Thailand, speaking at the Thailand Tourism Mart Plus in Chiang Mai.
After having been held for 14 consecutive years in Bangkok, TTM+ moved north to Chiang Mai in 2016 and was staged at the impressive Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre (CMECC). The move shows how Thailand’s northern region is becoming vital to tourism by acting as a gateway to other ASEAN nations, such as Myanmar, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Chiang Mai is a growing destination as more direct air services come online.
Thailand is positioning itself as a dream destination for sports tourism by promoting the kingdom’s world-class sporting facilities, wide-ranging expertise, and reputation for hosting successful regional and international sporting events and tournaments.
Sports such as golf are already popular among tourists coming to Thailand, and the kingdom offers over 300 world-class courses, but now the Royal Thai Government, with the support of the Sports Authority of Thailand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, wants to help visitors discover other facilities where tourists can enjoy sporting activities. These include 5,000 boxing rings, many with Muay Thai training centres, over 50 diving clubs, and an increasing network of urban and rural cycling lanes that are spreading across the country and are being promoted at government level.
These world-class facilities mean that Thailand has already played host to many international sports events, including the 1997 and 2007 World Weightlifting Championships, the 2014 Asian Beach Games, the 2015 Asian Cycling Championships, and the World Touring Car Championships 2015 (WTCC) held at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram province. There are also popular boating events such as the annual King’s Regatta, which takes place every year off Phuket. Thailand has also hosted the Asian Games four times and the South East Asian (SEA) Games three times.