The sun rises on a new era in Thai tourism as the dynamic and visionary Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaiboon officially assumes her role as the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). With a master’s degree in science from the prestigious University of Surrey in the UK, Ms. Thapanee’s journey in the world of tourism began in 1999, and since then, she has been nothing short of a force to be reckoned with within the TAT.
From her early days as a dedicated team member to her recent achievements as Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing, Ms. Thapanee has steered Thailand’s tourism ship towards remarkable successes. Let’s take a journey through her illustrious career and the incredible feats she has accomplished.
A Visionary Trailblazer
In her most recent role as Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing, Ms. Thapanee sparked a tourism revolution. Initiating groundbreaking programs such as ‘workation in Thailand,’ faith and religious tourism routes, and solo travel packages, she single-handedly catalyzed an astonishing 151.45 million domestic trips in 2022. This accounted for a remarkable 88% of the record year seen in 2019, generating a staggering 641.5 billion Baht for Thailand’s economy.
Setting Standards for Safety and Health
Ms. Thapanee’s dedication to the welfare of both travelers and the Thai hospitality industry is unwavering. During her tenure as Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business, she introduced the ‘Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certification program.’ This pioneering initiative set a gold standard for hotels and services, ensuring they met specific health and safety requirements. It became a mandatory prerequisite for hotels wishing to register as quarantine facilities during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program’s global recognition aligned perfectly with the WTTC SafeTravels protocols, solidifying Thailand’s reputation as a safe travel destination.
Unlocking Thailand’s Potential
Ms. Thapanee’s innovative thinking knows no bounds. She introduced the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme, a game-changer in Thailand’s reopening strategy. This scheme paved the way for other entry programs like Villa Quarantine, Yacht Quarantine, Golf Quarantine, and the globally acclaimed Phuket Sandbox, which has been hailed as a model for reopening by the international community.
A Tech-Savvy Visionary
Not just a tourism guru, Ms. Thapanee is known for her prowess in technology and social media. She spearheaded the Google Street View project in collaboration with Google Thailand, providing travelers with immersive virtual experiences. The ‘Amazing Thailand’ social media platforms have also flourished under her guidance, captivating audiences worldwide.
Champion of Special Interests
Ms. Thapanee’s passion extends to various special interest tourism products. She championed health and wellness tourism, yacht and cruise tourism, and community tourism. Her “King’s Wisdom for Sustainable Tourism” project, which secured the PATA Grand Awards in 2018 for Education and Training, showcases her commitment to sustainable tourism.
A Trailblazer from the Start
In her earlier years at the TAT, Ms. Thapanee was celebrated for her contributions to intra-regional travel within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), fostering regional unity through tourism.
As Thailand welcomes Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaiboon as the new TAT Governor, we can’t help but be excited about the continued growth and innovation in the Thai tourism industry. Her visionary leadership promises a brighter future for travelers and the Kingdom of Thailand. So, fasten your seatbelts, fellow adventurers, because with Ms. Thapanee at the helm, Thailand’s tourism is set to soar to new heights of class and fun!