Australian Society of Travel Writers

Australian Society of Travel Writers

Up to 250 of Australia’s leading travel writers will descend upon Thailand between 21-23 August, 2009, for their annual general meeting and awards night, expected to be the largest off-shore event for the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) since its inception in 1975.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is hosting the ASTW’s AGM, which will include three days in Bangkok, and a series of six post-conference tours to different parts of Thailand.

TAT will host a Gala Dinner for the ASTW members on 22 August, 2009, at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Center @ Central World. The event will include a Thai musical and classical dance show as well as the presentation of awards for outstanding Australian travel writers, photographers, travel media organizations, and industry communicators.

Thailand last hosted the Society’s AGM in 1999.

Mrs Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT’s Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications said, “We are very happy to host so many influential communicators and travel media professionals from Australia. We expect they will have a good time here and write about Amazing Thailand when they return home, generating millions of dollars worth of publicity that far exceeds any amount that would otherwise have to be spent on promotions and advertising.”

The annual ASTW Awards night is held in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting. Full and Associate Writer Members are eligible to enter the Travel Journalism Awards, with prizes in the Destination, Trade and Photography categories. PR Members are eligible for the ASTW Communicator of the Year Award, chosen by vote by the writer members, for outstanding professional services to ASTW members. Currently, there are seventeen awards.

It has become traditional for the host of the annual AGM to also offer a travel writing prize for stories (and sometimes photographs) published about the host destination.

ASTW is an organisation of professionals engaged in writing, broadcasting, photographic, television and other electronic media production, and public relations executives working in the travel industry.

Believing in travel as “a bridge between peoples” the Society’s members work to raise the standards of the profession. In addition, they seek to guard the right of freedom to travel and to encourage conservation and preservation of historic sites and natural wonders, and promote cultural understanding.

The basic objective is to make and keep travel a quality experience for everyone and to help keep the travel industry both viable and accountable for its actions.

Australia is one of major markets for Thailand. During January – April 2009, there were 193,340 Australian visitors to Thailand. Favourite destinations are Bangkok, Phuket, Samui and Krabi. The new trendy destinations are Koh Chang, Koh Tao, Koh Lanta and Koh Samet.

Major tourism activities for Australian visitors are shopping, beach resorts, soft-adventure, ecotourism, elephant riding, diving, trekking, and Thai cooking class while golf, cruising, medical tourism, and spa are the new trendy activities.

Many Australian visitors stop over in Thailand en route back home after visiting Europe to take in some shopping or for some quick sightseeing in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces.

As of August 2009, there are 74 direct scheduled flights per week between Thailand (Bangkok; Phuket) and five major cities of Australia being operated by four airlines — THAI Airways International, Qantas, British Airways, Emirates, and Jetstar Airways.

Citizens of Australia can stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa.