Thai Tourism Receives Boost from Amex
Thai Tourism Industry Receives Major Boost from American Express
Company Relocates Major Global Conference to Phuket
Bangkok, 29 March 2005: To support the Thai tourism industry affected by the December 26 tsunami, American Express recently moved a global conference of more than 700 employees from North America to Phuket. By holding the meeting in Phuket, the company was able to provide some much needed economic regeneration to the island and help restore confidence in the region’s ability to receive travelers.
The decision to move the meeting to Phuket was taken after senior American Express managers visited employees in Thailand and the rest of the region days after the tsunami struck.
“American Express donated $1 million to the Red Cross Tsunami Fund in the days after the disaster struck. However, we wanted to do more,” said Ed Gilligan, Group President Global Corporate Services and International Payments.
He added: “Our colleagues at American Express in Thailand convinced us that the most powerful offer of support that the company could make would be to change plans for the March 2005 meeting and bring colleagues from around the world to Phuket. This would help send the message that Phuket remained open for business. It was a daunting task to change flights, accommodation and venue at such short notice but without a doubt, it was worth the effort.”
As the preferred carrier, Thai Airways International gave full support in helping bring delegates from all over the world.
The Laguna Complex was chosen to be the accommodation and venue for the entire event. All five hotels of the complex – Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket, Banyan Tree Phuket, Dusit Laguna Resort Phuket, Laguna Beach Resort and Allamanda Laguna Phuket – partnered in accommodating and servicing this global conference.
The company arranged activities that enabled its employees to give back to the local Phuket community once they arrived. A number of employees undertook charitable work at a Bang Tao Beach Relief Project. Hundreds more went on organized shopping excursions. In addition, more than thirty ‘OTOP’ local retailers were arranged to set up an open air marketplace at the Sheraton Grande Laguna.
At the meeting’s opening ceremony Mr Vinai Buapradit, Vice Governor of Phuket, thanked American Express for its decision to support the island in its time of need: “In terms of the economy, the damage has cost more than 13 billion Baht with business enterprises and service industries mostly affected.”
“Since tourism and service industries are the main sources of revenue of Phuket and – to a certain extent – the southern region of Thailand, the ICSS 2005 Conference of American Express helps send a message to the world that Phuket is once again ready to be the destination of choice for leisure and business purposes,” he said.
American Express Chairman Ken Chenault flew in from New York to attend the Phuket meeting. In his remarks, Mr Chenault praised American Express employees in Asia and around the world who assisted American Express Cardmembers who were in the region struck by the tsunamis.
The company has also launched a region wide marketing campaign called “Phuket Sunshine”, aimed to encourage American Express Cardmembers to visit Phuket. The company worked in conjunction with the Thai Hotels Association, Phuket Tourist Association and the Tourism Authority of Thailand on this Phuket post-tsunami promotion.