EXCLUSIVE: Pattaya to Be Likely the Next Host to Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2018

After implying that the next edition of the Thailand Travel Mart Plus -hosted for two consecutive years in Chiang Mai- would be hosted in 2018 in Hua Hin, it seems that it will be Pattaya which will play host for the next edition.

“We originally thought that Hua Hin but also that Koh Samui would eventually host our next event. But finally, the Government asked us to also consider Pattaya”, revealed the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn. “The Government is looking at promoting the Eastern Seaside Corridor, which is being turned into a new economic growth zone as well as a new cluster of development for tourism and air activities”, he explained during the outgoing Chiang Mai event.

There is also a need to show how much Pattaya has changed over the last years to become a popular, family-oriented destination with a beautiful beach front”, told the Governor. Asked at TTM Plus, many professionals of the trade industry seem very much in favour of Pattaya. “The resort is ideally located, less than 90 minutes away from Suvarnabhumi airport and it has a large choice of first class and luxury hotels as well as top convention facilities”, described Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.

According to Yuthasak Supasorn, TTM format integrating its surrounding neighbours from the Greater Mekong Sub-region makes sense. “We recognize that Thailand is a natural gateway to the CLMVT cooperation framework (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) and they are obvious synergies”, he told.

CLMVT rising importance

For the first time, a presentation of the region has been highlighting new potential thematic tours of the five Mekong countries with official representatives of national tourist authorities defining during a panel session four themes: Living Heritage – presented by Seila Hul, Cambodia Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Tourism. Linked to the heritage topic is local experiences, highlighted during the CLMVT presentation by Myanmar Nyi Nyi Oo, Deputy Director, Directorate of Hotels and Tourism.

Multi-country tourism was promoted by Laos, the only land-locked country in the region. Vongdeuan Keosulivong, acting director in the tourism marketing department of Laos ministry of information, culture and tourism, explained how opening borders were changing tourism travel experiences. With some of the most enchanting rivers in Asia -including the Irrawaddy or the Mekong Rivers- the luxury cruises segment is another relevant activity to the development of tourism with potential to combine a sea cruise to a river cruise, said Vu Nam, Deputy Director General of thez Tourism Marketing Department of Vietnam National Tourism Administration.

Urban tourism with vibrant metropolises across the region will appeal not only to millenials but also to tourists looking for a cultural, shopping and also gastronomical experience. The latter was considered as the most binding element to the five countries, generating  unanimity as a promotional tool.

“Through gastronomy, travellers not only will dive into the soul of our people but also learn about the differences and similarities that link us. Gastronomy is turning into a true tourism segment and probably one of the most important in the years to come as it involves not only the food experience itself but the discovery of local life through organic farm tours, cooking schools, markets and street food experience”, told  Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Marketing Communications for TAT.