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29 Apr, 2024

Exclusive Lectures on How Visit Thailand Year 1987 Revolutionised Global Tourism

In 1987, Thailand marked the auspicious 60th birthday of His Majesty the late King Rama IX the Great with an extraordinary national celebration known as Visit Thailand Year. It was a grand invitation for visitors worldwide to join the Thai people in marking the King’s historic 5th 12-year cycle of life.

The event proved to be a grand success. The entire Thai Travel & Tourism industry came together like never before. Thai Airways International used its worldwide network and marketing clout to launch a multi-million baht ad campaign which stunned the world.

Visitor arrivals in 1987 rose by a staggering 23.5% to 3.48 million.

The success revolutionised the industry for Thailand, the ASEAN region and the world.

It caught the eye of Thai, regional, global political and tourism leaders, investors and policy-makers. The world awoke to the value of Travel & Tourism for economic development, job creation and income distribution.

That success, in turn, led to more budget allocations for international marketing, relaxed visa facilities to boost accessibility, and infrastructure investment in roads, airports, hotels and various tourist destinations nationwide. It facilitated the kingdom’s economic diversification efforts to better balance agriculture, services and manufacturing.

Multinational tourism companies saw mega-bucks in tapping the teeming middle-class millions seeking to explore the world.

As nothing succeeds like success, VTY 1987 triggered copycat events such as Visit Malaysia Year 1990, Visit Indonesia Year 1991 and then a Visit ASEAN Year 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of its founding. International organisations like the World Tourism Organisation, PATA, ASEANTA and other local and regional associations also jumped on the bandwagon.

Perhaps most important factor was that VTY 1987 was a recognition of the value of great leadership.

HM King Rama IX was dearly loved for his integrity, commitment and wisdom. A true “Man of the People,” he was also the world’s greatest domestic tourist. Since 1967 until his death in October 2016, the “Development King” never stepped out of Thailand (except for the brief cross-border opening of the Thai-Laos Friendship bridge in 1994), choosing instead to visit villages and rural areas nationwide.

After VTY 1987, many more Royal events were held such as the 1998-1999 celebration of King Rama IX’s auspicious 72nd birth anniversary. That gave birth to the Amazing Thailand campaign which also attracted budgets and drove tourism growth.

Conversely, VTY 1987 also had a serious downside.

The Gold Rush led to a get-rich-quick mentality. The flood of private sector investment triggered land-grabs to build hotels, resorts and golf courses. The real estate boom triggered higher debt levels which contributed exactly 10 years after 1987 to the 1997 economic crash.

Environmental degradation became rampant as “pristine and unspoiled” national parks and beaches were encroached upon. Crimes against tourists rose. The increase in sex tourism, child prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases worsened the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s.

That double-edged experience is why I call Thailand “The Greatest Story in Global Tourism HiSTORY”. The Kingdom provides an unmatched learning curve for destinations worldwide on how a country can get the tourism development agenda both right and wrong at the same time.

Today, in Thailand, VTY 1987 in an irrelevant, distant memory.

University professors, many of whom were not born or still in school at the time, know nothing about it and hence cannot share its value as a learning experience with their students.

Corporate leaders see no value because history does not generate a revenue stream.

Government agencies see no value because they have more pressing short-term priorities.

The international Travel & Tourism industry sees no value because knowledge of history has no bearing on current developments.

Everyone pays mere lip service to the need to learn the lessons of history and avoid repeating past mistakes.

In which case, how is Travel & Tourism going to “Build Back Better” in the post-Covid era? Create a truly “New Normal”? Convert a “Crisis Into an Opportunity?”

The Thai experience can provide some very valuable pointers.

Lecture details

This weekend, on 04 May 2024, World Press Freedom Day, I will launch weekly lectures to be delivered worldwide over Zoom. They will be delivered every Saturday until 28 July 2024, the auspicious 72nd birthday of Thailand’s current King, His Majesty Rama X, eldest son of King Rama IX.

The lecture will cover:

(+) The full history of Visit Thailand Year 1987.

(+) How it was planned and executed.

(+) How it revolutionised Thai, Mekong, ASEAN and the global Travel & Tourism industry.

(+) The challenges which emerged in converting the marketing genius into management solutions.

(+) Why the lessons of Visit Thailand Year 1987 are more relevant than ever in shaping the future of tourism in the New World Order.

The first two lectures will be held on May 4 and May 11, between 09.30-11.30 Thailand time.

Please email tin@travel-impact-newswire.com to get the zoom link.

The only two books ever written about Visit Thailand Year 1987

Realising the long-term importance of Visit Thailand Year 1987, I compiled my extensive collection of notes, reports, research and images into two books, the only ones ever written about that event. The books steer clear of the fawning, sycophantic write-ups traditionally found in the colourful travel publications. Instead, I provide objective and forthright reporting to ensure balance and enhance credibility. They are available for sale at a cost of US$75 each or US$110 for both.

Click here for more details: https://www.travel-impact-newswire.com/executive-editor-imtiaz-muqbil-career-highlights/