The political emergency that prompted the postponement of the annual Thailand Travel Mart to September is over, and even though tourism officials are optimistic that the temporary crisis will not have long-term consequences, the Royal Thai Government is working hard to rebuild confidence in the country’s reputation as a welcoming host. Internally, that means quickly addressing the damage sustained to Bangkok’s infrastructure and externally, rebuilding confidence in the country’s tourism product—both in time for the upcoming peak travel season. It’s important to know that 99% of the country, “especially the destinations where international travelers prefer to go, were not involved in the political protests,” said Srisuda Wanapinyosak, director of the Tourist Authority of Thailand office for the Eastern U.S. and Canada. “Perhaps the most difficult element for us was the interruption in what the people of Thailand love to do, which is to welcome visitors with grace and warmth,” she added. “It was hard for that culture to be placed temporarily on hold.”
Teaching English, building roads, revitalizing schools, and protecting wildlife are not usually the first things that come to mind when most people think of romantic getaways. However, couples, families and even co-workers are rejuvenating their relationships or bonding as a corporate team as they work together on service projects overseas.