Digital content is currently one of the promising industries in Thailand, especially in the gaming sector.
Thailand’s digital content is a booming economy. In 2015 the market value of the digital content industry amounted to US$353 million (12 billion baht), with exports reaching some US$44 million (1.5 billion baht), according to Chatchai Khunpitiluk, who was addressing the Bangkok International Digital Content Festival 2017 on March 8.
The acting specialist assistant to the director of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, forecasts that the animation market will expand by 5% in 2017, with the gaming market growing in excess of 22%.
MAD Virtual Reality Studio, is just one company that demonstrates the industry’s bright future. Founded in 2015, it spent 13 months producing the horror game ARAYA, which was launched the following year to positive feedback from players worldwide.
Set in an abandoned hospital, the Thai female ghost horror game has now achieved internationally acclaim with its teaser viewed 50 million times on YouTube.
“Thailand is outstanding in digital content production,” said Alan Archapilasa, founder and chief executive officer of MAD VRS. “Foreign customers were surprised when they saw our game for the first time as they thought foreign countries such as Japan and the US would outsource graphic and animation works to Thailand. But, now Thailand can produce a game which is compatible with visual reality technology.”
Now ARAYA is sold worldwide to the US, Germany, China, Japan and South Korea.
Apart from its popularity with gamers around the world, ARAYA also received the Excellent Game of the Year prize from the Bangkok International Digital Content Festival 2017.
In addition to developing games, MAD VRS produces mobile game applications for entertainment featuring popular stars and celebrities, and B2G business innovations for state agencies.
Archapilasa has great confidence that the company will work on the success of ARAYA to create more projects that he believes will be successful on the world market.
“We are confident that our new products will get very good feedback from people worldwide again. This is because we have already proved that our capability is now widely accepted and it is clearly second to none,” he said.
For more information, please visit: www. madvrstudio.com
Photo courtesy of MAD Virtual Reality Studio Co., Ltd
Words by Patcharee Taedangpetch
Authentic Thai tastes prepared to international standards is the recipe for the continued success of restaurant chain Blue Elephant.
Nooror Somany Steppe, founding partner and director of Blue Elephant, Thai fine dining restaurant, believes that Thai restaurateurs have one advantage over other cuisines in the global market.
“A variety of flavors in one dish that is the standout of Thai food,” she says. “Thai food entrepreneurs can promote this point for products and services for distribution in local and global markets.”
Currently, Blue Elephant has eight branches around the world in Brussels – which was the first restaurant – Paris, Jakarta, Dubai, Copenhagen, Malta as well as Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand.
“The main thing is to bring fresh and good quality ingredients to cook authentic Thai food combined with international standardized production controls such as the BRC standard,” she says. “This allows consumers to trust our Blue Elephant brand.”
Blue Elephant has played a significant role in establishing the fine reputation for Thai food around the world, especially due to its involvement with the DITP in a wide range of activities, such as the promotion of the Thai food market in Africa and being selected for Milan Design Week 2017 as part of the Thai Brand Heroes Project - Thailand Heart-made Nation, which represents a new business model, incorporating innovation and creativity to create a global brand.
“In South Africa, our products are available at Woolworths including green curry, red curry, coconut cream and Thai cooking sets,” she says.
Nooror believes that street food is a fast growing global food trend, as is Asian cuisine. “It is a popular fast food that reflects the tastes and cultures of the people in that country,” she says. “Asian food is also growing in popularity, especially Thai food. It is important to maintain the identity and taste of authentic Thai food to the highest level.”
Restaurants are increasingly selling fusion food, with the main competitors to Thai cuisine being Vietnamese and Japanese. Another trend, especially in Europe is for health food that is both tasty and cheap.
“Restaurants need to find a way to promote health-oriented food along with traditional flavours at affordable price. The main target is young urban professionals and expats who are most likely to prefer takeaway and delivery services,” Nooror says.
Recently, Blue Elephant was ranked as one of 150 leading restaurants in Bangkok in the Thailand Tatler Best Restaurants Awards 2017. Nooror is particularly proud of this accolade.
“This award marks the score of a poll conducted by readers and editors of the Thailand Tatler Magazine who send their critics to our place without notice in order to avoid receiving special service from the restaurant,” she says.
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi
Thailand’s five-star resorts are benefitting from TAT’s emphasis on the booming global health and wellness tourism sector.
The health and wellness tourism trend has captured the hearts and souls of holidaymakers around the globe. According to Global Wellness Economy Monitor 2017, revenue from global wellness tourism grew by 14% from US$494.1 billion in 2013 to US$563.2 billion in 2015. This growth rate is more than double that of tourism expenditure (6.9%) overall. World travellers made 691 million wellness trips in 2015, 104.4 million more than in 2013.
Thailand is one of the top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pacific. Dr Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) affirmed the importance of this sector in his Action Plan 2017 press conference on 11 July 2016, highlighting health and wellness tourism as one of four niche markets that will remain a strong focus of the authority in 2017. Dr Supasorn also stated that TAT will focus more on women and senior travellers seeking health and wellness tourism.
Nammon Dachakajornsook, director of Sales and Marketing at Kirimaya Golf Resort Spa, Khao Yai, welcomes this business opportunity.
“We are truly ready for this tourism trend,” she says. “Our spa, MAYA Spa, can provide a range of spa services to customers seeking a five-star standard. It offers signature treatments, facials and body treatments, and massage programmes. And if any customer requires greater privacy, we can also provide our services in their own rooms. All our customers are impressed with the quiet and peaceful atmosphere. Moreover, our products are all made from natural and organic Thai herbs.”
Komjet Chantaravisoot, executive director of Santhiya Resorts & Spas, believes that Thailand has something essentially Thai to offer its customers.
“Our resorts not only provide the feeling of Thai-ness through the décor and the way that we welcome our customers to make them feel like they are visiting a traditional Thai house, but we also provide a unique spa experience,” he says. “We have had very good feedback from our guests, especially at Santhiya Koh Yao Yai which has nine traditional teak Thai houses, each one blending into nature and offering sea views. Rooms for oil and foot massage, steam rooms and private jacuzzis are also provided for customers who love their privacy and relaxation at the same time.”
Chantaravisoot believes that Thai-ness also extends to the unique qualities of the local products used and the attention to service provided, that are testament to the country’s sustained success.
“Our staff are professional and they have a service mentality,” he says. The products that we use in our spas are all Thai products made from Thai herbs. Since there are outstanding scents and aromas and experiences that our customers have never had in other countries, those who have visited us once will always come back to us again.”
Photo courtesy of Kirimaya Golf Resort Spa, Khao Yai , Santhiya Resorts & Spas
Words by Patcharee Taedangpetch
Having set alight the runways of Vienna, Thai fashion brand Black Sugar is set to take off to international markets.
Despite the fast changing trends within the global fashion industry some things are written in black and white – such as the immortal appeal of the simple colours.
“To make black and white clothes, we do not expect all people to like our products,” says Methawee Angthong, creator of the Black Sugar fashion brand. “But we believe that there must be a group of people who love the same style as us. Black Sugar's clothing really does not have a target age.”
Angthong was selected at the DITP’s Bangkok International Fashion Fair (BIFF) to bring her Black Sugar collection to the MQ Vienna Fashion Week in 2016, an important showcase for the burgeoning reputation that Thai designers are developing within the fashion world.
The fashion designer’s research indicates that people wear black and white clothing for many occasions, from casual to formal wear or even to party. She believes this enables her to create a strong brand based solely on these two colours.
“Black represents strength, and sugar shows a hidden sweetness, so Black Sugar is a mix of sweet coolness,” she says.
Even though she does not yet carry out any online marketing, Angthong states the quality of her clothing attracts a wide client base. “Our customers say they love our patterns and the delicate details in the design,” she says.
The proof of Black Sugar’s export success is clear to see, with 40% of sales to the domestic market and 60% to overseas customers in Greece, India, Taiwan, Cuba, South Korea and Dubai. “A Korean buyer has contacted us to open Black Sugar over there,” Angthong adds.
As for the Thai fashion industry, Angthong sees a bright future, and believes that Thai brands have great potential to reach international markets.
“I think there is more awareness and support from the government for the Thai fashion industry,” she says. “This is good because it improves our reputation in international markets. Many Thai brands have the potential to market internationally.”
Angthong says that everyone has ability and talent, the point is how to find the right channel to use them. “People should find a way to stimulate and practice their own ability until the right opportunity comes along, then they will be able to grab it confidently.”
For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/blacksugarbrand
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi
Thai tourism continues to play a significant role in the growth of the country, with record profits and a new campaign, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is readying itself to host ATF 2018.
TAT announced its targets for 2017 and launched its new campaign Shaping Our Tourism Journey Together at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2017 hosted by Singapore from January 16 to 20.
“In 2016, we achieved a new record breaking situation in terms of revenue and number of tourist arrivals with 32.6 million visitors, generating 1.65 trillion baht (around US$46 billion) in revenue, and increasing by 9% compared with the previous year,” said Dr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT’s governor at the event.
“In 2017, in order to achieve our goal of 1.8 trillion baht (approximately US$50 billion) with 34.5 million overseas travellers, we developed an innovative new campaign called Unique Local Experiences to promote Thailand tourism to the world.
“Today, more and more people are looking for the real and authentic local stories. We therefore deliver unique Thai local experiences to our tourists to attract them and to change their perspectives to visit Thailand not only for the sightseeing experience, but also for learning and touching the real Thai lifestyle, … and experiencing so many remarkable things in this amazing country.”
TAT’s governor also informed the audience that Thailand is preparing to host ATF 2018 in Chiang Mai, and announced its theme ASEAN – Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity. He hoped that this event would cement closer cooperation among ASEAN countries.
Members of the Thai tourism sector were in buoyant mood too.
“Our hotels have been fully booked all year, almost every year,” said Komjet Chantaravisoot, executive director of Santhiya Resorts & Spas. “International tourists especially Europeans, truly love the Thainess represented through our decorations and the warm hospitality and kind service of the Thai people. These have been the unique selling points of the country that we should maintain,”
Piyawan Chirayus, the director of sales of Merlin Hotel in Phuket, while agreeing about the strength of tourism in Thailand, stressed the need for close collaboration within the sector.
“Though our tourism situation is obviously positive, we still need to meet our buyers in person to hear their feedback, in order to keep on improving our services to meet their expectations and increase their satisfaction to make them return to visit again and again,” he said.
Mingkwan Metmowlee, vice president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents also commented upon the strengths of country’s tourism.
“Thailand has a very high potential in tourism,” she said. “We have all the necessary things to support tourists including transportation, services, tourism locations, culture and knowledge. According to the new campaign Visit ASEAN@50: Golden Celebration launched at the event, we think that 2017 will be a very good year for Thai tourism, as more and more ASEAN travellers show an interest in coming to visit Thailand.”
For more information, please visit: www.atf2017.com, www.tourismthailand.org
Photo courtesy of ATF2017
Words by Patcharee Taedangpetch