Member of the Board
Harry Betist has been representing the Tourism Authority of Thailand in the Netherlands since 2004. He is literally @home in Thailand and brings a vast experience in and knowledge of the Dutch tourism industry to support the Kingdom. Since the start of the collaboration with TAT the number of visitors from The Netherlands has grown from approx. 140,000 to over 200,000 per year currently. Harry has been active in the Netherlands tourism sector for over 35 years, both in the public sector as well as in the private sector. The scope of activities to promote Thailand in the Netherlands is virtually unlimited. In order to get or keep Thailand top of mind of both consumers and travel professionals, a broad portfolio of activities is being rolled out by Harry’s agency each year. For Thailand Harry’s agency Tourreps develops and executes consumer-fair participation, roadshows for travel professionals, presentations and trainings, familiarisation visits to Thailand for both media and travel trade relations, ongoing information to media relations via visits, events, presentations and personal interviews, social media campaigns in Dutch language, travel industry summits, media partnerships, market surveys and competition analysis.
Every year, in October, he organises a special tourism industry visit to Thailand at the occasion of the Bangkok Midnight Run. During this charity event the group of 15-20 Dutch tourism directors and executives in not only involved in fundraising for the charities but also discusses business development and new opportunities related to Dutch tourism to Thailand.
When asked about the attractiveness of Thailand as a holiday destination, Harry is very outspoken. “Thailand is one of the few countries in the world that not only caters for whatever travel interest or background one has, but also is offering all “ingredients” that a foreign visitor is looking for: rich culture, stunning nature, fantastic climate, hospitable and friendly people, healthy and tasty food, an enormous variety in beach destinations, shop until you drop, good healthcare, great infrastructure, variety of hotels and resorts as well as the uniqueness of many Buddhism originating traditions. Asked about tips in doing business with Thailand Harry shares a few experiences and insights. “Be respectful and patient, consider the importance of seniority in business, remember that building confidence is the basis of every business relation, even if it takes more time. Learn a few words of Thai and always remember that not all Thais are comfortable with the various tenses in the English language. Better to keep it simple and short. And finally, like it is in any country, act and behave like the locals do. And specifically for us Dutch, be reluctant to openly share your personal opinion.