Thai AirAsia Promotes Increasingly Community Tourism

Thai AirAsia is launching a new program to promote community tourism. ‘Journey D’ will help strengthening tourism movements towards local communities across the Kingdom.

‘Journey D’ is the latest CSR program launched by Thai AirAsia to encourage travellers to venture beyond classical destinations. The program was highlighted last week in front of 17 ASEAN travel writers from nine countries who were invited by the airline to experience “TJA ASEAN Travel Journo Camp”.

The program was set up in coordination with the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) to mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN creation. The participants will be taken during seven days to three different regions to identify stories and learn about life in  communities in Krabi, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

“Thailand is home to a vast array of travel opportunities as each of its regions is unique in terms of geography, culture and traditions. By operating an ever expanding regional network in Thailand, AirAsia has learned much about the Kingdom’s diversity and is now ready to support exchanges of information and development that will bring new experiences for travellers”, highlighted during a presentation Thai AirAsia CEO, Tassapon Bijleveld.

Journey D will in fact help travellers to identify communities to be visited. “As we do fly everywhere around the Kingdom, we found that they are many authentic experiences that tourists can experience from communities located just a few kilometres away from airports. We think that it is our duty to help these villages to grow their resources”, added Mr. Bijleveld.

Four communities have been so far selected for Journey D: Baan Pha Mee village in Chiang Rai in the North; Baan Kok Muang in Buriram in Isaan; Phromlok in Nakhon Si Thammarat on the Southeastern Coast and Koh Klang in Krabi, on the Southwestern Coast. “More will follow in the near future”, promised TAA CEO.

“We fill that Community-Sustainable Tourism can greatly benefit from our vast regional network across Thailand and ASEAN. Because we increasingly not only fly from capital city to capital city but also link second-tier destinations to capitals or even to another second-tier destination”, said Tassapon Bijleveld.

The airline actually continues to look at opening regional routes. According to TAA CEO, the airline is looking at launching a direct service from Khon Kaen to Phuket and strengthen Chiang Mai as a “Mekong Subregion” hub. “ We are mulling out options of offering new flights out of Chiang Mai to Mandalay, Yangon as well as Ho Chi Minh City”, told Mr. Bijleveld.

Out of Bangkok, TAA CEO sees the market pretty well covered in the ASEAN. “Our last big gap is to offer flights to the Philippines and we seriously look at it now. They are more destinations which could be opened but the problem is also about the maturity of the Thai travel market. If we open new routes to Surabaya in Indonesia or Kuching in Sarawak, we struggle to generate interest in the Thai market. It remains mostly a one-way traffic as Thais would prefer to go for shopping in Hong Kong or Singapore over venturing to new destinations”, he stressed.