PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2016 (AT&RTCM 2016) kicked off on Thursday in Thailand’s northernmost province of Chiang Rai, welcoming more than 200 top travel executives who promote adventure and sustainable travel options in destinations across the globe. The event is being held at the Dusit Island Resort Chiang Rai, from 17-19 February, under the theme ‘Creating Experiences, Sharing Opportunities’.
The event’s supporter, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has chosen Chiang Rai as the host venue to illustrate Thailand’s long-term commitment to promote the “balanced philosophy” of tourism, which ensures that economic benefits of tourism go hand-in-hand with environmental and cultural preservation. The former capital of the great Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Rai is a fascinating province filled with cultural and natural wonders, and is also a centre for community development projects helping rural villagers develop their attractions without adversely affecting their natural and cultural assets.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “On behalf of TAT, it gives me great pleasure to welcome all adventure and sustainable travel experts with a half-day tour of Chiang Rai on the event’s first day. I hope that the tour will help reiterate Thailand’s ongoing commitment to promote adventure and community-based tourism towards sustainable tourism development, as well as set the tone for the three-day niche event, which brings together the public and private sectors involved in adventure travel and responsible tourism to discuss new opportunities for promoting environmental protection and social sustainability within the industry.”
Mr. Mario Hardy, PATA CEO added, “On behalf of PATA, I would like to thank everyone at TAT for their generous support and gracious hospitality. This event has enjoyed outstanding success in recent years in countries such as Nepal and Bhutan and now we are delighted to have the opportunity to focus upon the many opportunities for adventure travel and responsible tourism in Thailand.”
The conference programme on 18 February included two representatives of TAT speaking at the event: Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Executive Director – Advertising and Public Relations Department, who spoke in the session titled ‘ Sharing Opportunities: Building Back Better after a Disaster’; and Mr. Ben Fleming, Marketing Manager – LA Office, who shared his views on how best to design effective cooperative marketing campaigns.
Other topics featured on the conference programme included: ‘Creating Experiences that Challenge, Delight and Inspire’; ‘Best Practices in Responsible Tourism from the ASEAN Region’; The Inbound Marketing Playbook; ‘The New Adventure Market: Understanding the Indian and Chinese Adventure Traveller’, and ‘Crossroads: Adventure and Responsible Travel off the Beaten Path’.
Meanwhile, the one-day travel mart on 19 February is the centre stage for sellers and buyers involved in the world of adventure travel and responsible tourism to conduct business.
Pre- and post-tours on 17 and 20 February are showcasing the best practices on Thailand’s adventure travel and responsible tourism options through unique routes, comprising Wat Rong Khun – Singha Park, Mae Kok River Boat Trip, Hilltribe Museum, Cycling Tour, Doi Tung Coffee Factory, Hilltribe Day Trek, as well as a glimpse into the organic farming initiatives at the Dusit Island Resort Chiang Rai.
Mr. Yuthasak added, “Once again, I would like to thank PATA for choosing Chiang Rai, following the successful AT&RTCM events in Bhutan and Nepal in the previous year. The hosting of this event is in line with TAT’s mission that recognises the importance of tourism in generating sustainable economic growth and providing jobs and income for millions of Thais, ensuring a higher quality of life. There are many more responsible tourist destinations all over Thailand, and we’d like to encourage tourists to have green and responsible hearts and act kindly and travel with respect and responsibility for the local culture and natural environment everywhere they go, too.”