2007-10-28

History of Thailand

The region known today as Thailand has been inhabited by human beings since the paleolithic period (about 500,000 - 10,000 years ago). Due to its geographical location, Thai culture has always been greatly influenced by India and China as well as the indigenous cultures of Southeast Asia. Prior to the 12th century various Mon, Khmer and Malay kingdoms thrived in differing regions, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artifacts throughout the country. However, the first Thai or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be the Buddhist kingdom of Sukhothai, which was founded in 1238, following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th - 15th century AD.
A century later Sukhothai's power was overshadowed by the larger Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya, established in the mid-14th century. After the sack of Angkor by the Siamese armies in 1431, much of the Khmer court and its Hindu customs were brought to Ayutthaya Kingdom, and Khmer customs and rituals were adopted into the courtly culture of Siam.
After Ayutthaya fell in 1767 to the Burmese, Thonburi was the capital of Thailand for a brief period under King Taksin the Great. The current (Rattanakosin) era of Thai history began in 1782 following the establishment of Bangkok as capital of the Chakri dynasty under King Rama I the Great.
European powers began traveling to Thailand in the 16th century. Despite European pressure, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation never to have been colonised by a European country. Two main reasons for this were that Thailand had a long succession of very able rulers in the 1800s and that it was able to exploit the rivalry and tension between the French and the British. As a result, the country remained as a buffer state between parts of Southeast Asia that were colonised by the two colonial powers. Despite this, Western influence led to many reforms in the 19th century and major concessions, most notably being the loss of large territory on the east side of the Mekong to the French and the loss of three predominantly ethnic-Malay southern provinces, which later became Malaysia's three northern states (Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909).
In 1932, a bloodless revolution resulted in a new constitutional monarchy. During World War II, Thailand was allied with Japan, while at the same time having an active anti-Japanese resistance movement known as the Seri Thai. After the war, Thailand emerged as an ally of the United States. As with much of the developing nations during the Cold war, Thailand then went through decades of political transgression characterised by coups d'├ętats as one military regime replaced another, but eventually progressed towards a stable democracy in the 1980s.
In 1997, Thailand was hit with the Asian financial crisis and the Thai baht for a short time peaked at 56 baht to the U.S. dollar compared to about 25 baht to the dollar before 1997. Since then the baht has regained most of its strength and as of May 23, 2007, is valued at 33 baht to the US dollar.
The official calendar in Thailand is based on Eastern version of the Buddhist Era, which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian (western) calendar. For example, the year AD 2007 is called 2550 BE in Thailand.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TAT TO LAUNCH “SEVEN AMAZING WONDERS” OF THAILAND CAMPAIGN

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has segmented and regrouped its core national tourism products into a seven-point package that will be marketed worldwide under the banner of “Seven Amazing Wonders” of Thailand.
Approved after the annual marketing meeting of TAT in the beach resort of Cha-am last week, the new campaign is designed to help attain a target of 14.8 million international visitor arrivals in 2007 and 15.7 million in 2008. The domestic tourism target is 82 million trips in 2007 and 83 million trips in 2008.
TAT Governor Mrs Phornsiri Manoharn said, “The new planning focus takes into account the many influencing factors at the global, regional, and local levels, ranging from changes in consumer behaviour, the impact of oil prices to branding and low-cost airlines.”
An exhaustive SWOT analysis of the Thai tourism industry indicated that while there were a number of issues to be addressed, “the good news is that Thailand has a generally very positive image in the world, which gives it a significant competitive advantage.
Mrs Phornsiri said, “In many travel magazines and lifestyle surveys, we are consistently ranked in the Top Ten for the quality of our beautiful beaches, entertainment and dining, value of products, recreational facilities, and shopping. Every year, we reap many awards in each of these categories.”
She noted that the new campaign will be underpinned by the strong branding slogan “Amazing Thailand” which proved hugely successful in 1998/99 and underscores the country’s image as a peaceful, hospitable country and a year-round tourism destination with high quality of value-for-money products and services.”
The “Seven Amazing Wonders” theme products are as follows:
Thainess“Experience the Art of Thai Living” — which refers to traditional Thai hospitality, lifestyle and friendliness of the people
Treasure products“Land of Heritage and History” — covering the World Heritage sites and historical places, temples, and Thai museums
Beaches“Fun, Sun, Surf and Serenity of Thai Beaches” — the long-standing popularity of Thai beach resorts for international and domestic tourism
Nature“Encounter the Sheer Beauty of Thai Nature” — focus on conservation and environment, and market Thai products within the framework of the worldwide attention being paid to global warming
Health and Wellness“Land of Healthy Smile” — a rapidly growing market, highlighting Thailand’s preventive and curative therapies
Trendy“Excite Yourself with a Myriad of Thai Trends” — targetted at the new generation of young travellers, and covering the new boutique hotels, shopping centres, restaurants, nightlife, and entertainment
Festivities“Enchant Yourself with International Festivities in Thailand”— the ‘sanuk’ (fun) factor, featuring popular Thai events and festivals such as the Phuket Regatta, Elephant Polo, etc.
The 18 main markets which are targeted for intensive promotions are mainly in the Asia-Pacific, East Asia and Europe regions. Among the 20 emerging markets with strong growth potential are Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Russia and CIS countries, East Europe, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
This year, TAT is to open offices in Dubai, Moscow and Vietnam, all of which are generating promising growth. It is also working actively in China which is projected to become Thailand’s top source of visitor arrivals by the end of this decade, overtaking both Malaysia and Japan.
Mrs Phornsiri said the core focus will be on attracting “quality tourists with high yield.” A lot of time and effort is to be directed at enhancing TAT’s e-marketing abilities through websites, blogs, discussion forums, travel clubs, mobile phone messages, etc, especially to reach the high-end target group in places like Japan, Australia and the US.
She said, “The fact that 60% of total arrivals are repeat visitors opens up excellent opportunities to attract more visitors by getting our loyal guests to recommend Thailand to more friends and colleagues.”
One key component of the campaign will be the nine Royal Discovery Initiative projects, all conceptualised and created by His Majesty the King and members of the Royal Family as part of Thailand’s “sufficiency economy” practise.
Mrs Phornsiri said, “This year, we are commemorating His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary. His Majesty is now the world’s longest reigning monarch and within two years, will become the longest reigning monarch in world history. This will be another cause for glorious celebration.”
The nine Royal Discovery Initiative projects epitomise the pride of Thailand. They cover areas such as agriculture, occupational training, education, traditions and culture. More details are available on the web site www.thairoyalprojects.com