She was the face of Thailand tourism for Overseas markets for many years. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in charge of marketing for Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, will leave TAT at the end of September, after 39 years within the organisation. Visiting Paris travel exhibition IFTM Top Resa, she gave in exclusivity for ASEAN.travel—one of her last interviews as Deputy Governor.
When did you started to work for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and what has been your best memory?
I joined TAT back to 1977 and started to work in marketing from 1980. I was for the first time sent abroad to TAT office in London as an assistant director. It probably was one of my best memories as it was my first ever position abroad. I must say that I also have fond memories of my time as Director for France in Paris. I was there in 1998 and it was an exciting challenge. I had to help growing the market and at that time France was relatively small with 250,000 travellers per year. We managed in my three-year time in France to significantly raise total arrivals.
What was your most exciting experience during your TAT time?
It might sound strange but some of the most exciting times were during various crisis faced by Thailand. Such as in 1990 following a curfew, TAT designed a recovery campaign. We came with the campaign “The World is Our Guest”. It was something really new to us! This crisis helped us also realize the potential of our domestic market. We effectively saw that e could balance in some ways international decline in arrivals and started then to build up specific campaigns for Thai travellers.
Which campaign or strategy did you find the most innovative?
“Unseen Thailand” marked for me a shift in strategy. We launched the campaign a couple of years ago and for the first time, we took distance with traditional destinations that we had always promoted such as Phuket, Pattaya or Bangkok. We suddenly highlighted secondary destinations, smaller islands, little resorts. It has worked very well and has then been followed by our current campaign about “Thailand’s Hidden Jewels”. This program helps travellers discovering authentic second-tier or third-tier destinations.
Are today’s tourists different from the tourists you received 35 years ago?
There is more awareness, of course, from travellers today who are ready to be more adventurous. And we have also far more nationalities from all across the world coming now easily to Thailand. This is a major transformation!
What will you do after leaving TAT?
I will still be busy in the tourism field, and will work on specific projects as a tourism consultant. Tourism industry friends will still see me around.