Friendly, cultured and historic, Thailand radiates a golden hue from its glittering temples and tropical beaches through to the ever-comforting Thai smile. With broods of all ages looking for new ways to spend time together, Thailand is the perfect destination for families.
Today’s parents and grandparents are active, healthy and looking to spend time with their loved ones. Milestone birthdays and anniversaries are a chance for bring the-whole-gang celebrations with many families yearning to share a place that’s special to them, such as a national park or a hidden corner of Thailand. More and more families are taking children abroad at an even younger age and parents want to include kids in the decision-making process too, including them in itinerary-planning meetings and brainstorming group activities together. Alongside the friendly culture that has caused the country to be known as the land of smiles, Thailand’s affordability, weather and vast array of activities make it the perfect destination for a fun, family-friendly holiday.
Recent data revealed that festival tourism is increasing in popularity with travellers opening up to cultural experiences globally, and an increase in demand of approximately 20 per cent for experiences including Songkran in Thailand. Songkran is an incredibly popular annual Thai festival that marks Thai New Year.
From April 13 to 15, the entire country will celebrate the New Year. People prepare for it by cleaning houses, schools, offices and other public spaces. They are joined by family members who have moved away and returned for the holiday to spend time with loved ones. Many families wake up early during Songkran and visit temples, where they bring offerings such as food. Visitors sprinkle clean or scented water over religious statues to represent purification and good fortune. Young people also pour water on the hands of elderly relatives and friends to show their respect and ask for blessings in the coming year.
Honouring family traditions is an important part of Songkran. Outside, Songkran is celebrated with street parties featuring loud music and a giant friendly water fight. Alongside festival tourism, medical tourism has also created a surge in families visiting Thailand. Medical tourism is an expanding, multi-billion dollar industry, and in terms of market share, Thailand is currently dominating the market with the number of tourists visiting solely for medical purposes. This growth has subsequently positioned Thailand as the leading medical tourism destination in Asia with the rise for demand continuously pushing other nations down the list. Thailand is also the 12th safest country in Asia according to the Numbeo 2018 Crime Index. Safety is a huge priority for parents looking to travel with their children and Thailand’s safety rating bodes well in terms of attracting families. The Land of Smiles also has partnerships with key police organisations. Dubai Police recently visited Thailand to mark its new Esaad partnership with Tourism Authority of Thailand, which highlights the readiness and strong future potential of Thailand as a privileged destination for all of the UAE government entities. Currently, Thailand is promoting its ‘Open to the New Shades’ campaign, which highlights all of the country’s different offerings for every kind of traveller. The campaign looks at the diversity of Thailand and its many unique and undiscovered offerings. It comprises five pillars—shades of Thai gastronomy, shades of nature, shades of arts and crafts, shades of culture and shades of way of life.
Thailand is a diverse country that is waiting to be explored by every family. Exquisite temples, vivacious floating markets and walking streets, traditional villages, and unique annual festivals are waiting for tourists to visit all year round. Many people just touch the surface, but there is so much to discover by way of unique cuisine, rich art and culture, exotic nature, incredible beaches and an open, authentic way of life that’s uniquely Thai.