hailand’s main travel trade show, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion (TTM+), made an estimated 1.441 billion Baht (US$41.2 million) worth of business transactions, according to surveys conducted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
The three-day event held between 14-17 June in the northern capital of Chiang Mai recorded a total of 15,569 business appointments between 419 buyers from 56 countries and 358 sellers from Thailand and its neighbouring countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (Myanmar, Lao PDR., Cambodia and Vietnam). Both buyers and sellers reported high levels of satisfaction with the overall event, with a majority expressing a desire to attend again in 2018.
As hotels and resorts comprised the largest component of sellers, they also recorded the highest value of business, an estimated 1.055 billion Baht (US$ 30.1 million) or 73.2 per cent of the total business value, as indicated by the TAT-commissioned surveys.
The total number of buyers was up 21 per cent over the TTM+ 2016, which was the highest turnout in six years, amongst both first-time buyers and non-hosted buyers. First-time buyers totalled 199 (47.50 per cent) while the remaining 220 buyers (52.50 per cent) were repeat attendees.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “This year, we paid special attention to ensuring a high quality of buyers. All were carefully selected and whetted in cooperation with representatives of the Thai travel agents and tour operators and other marketing experts in the source markets of each region. I am indeed happy that we enjoyed a good turnout and high levels of satisfaction amongst the buyers.”
Amongst the sellers, first-time participants totalled 104, accounting for 29 per cent of the total. Each had an average of 35 appointments. The trade show reached a satisfactory level with many saying that the event helped them generate business. Most have expressed interest in attending the TTM+ 2018.
High satisfaction levels were also reported by the 445 delegates who attended the Tourism Trend Talk Forum on 14 June, 2017.
Led by H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports who spoke on the topic “Community-based tourism”, the Forum featured world-renowned speakers Mr. Mason Florence, Chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Academy who offered new insights on “Global Trends in Gastronomy”, Professor Dr. David Beirman, Senior Lecturer from the University of New South Wales in Australia who spoke on “Tourism Crisis Management”, and Ms. Sarah Matthews, Head of Destination Marketing Asia-Pacific from TripAdvisor who focused on “Digital Age: E-Commerce Platform”.
The response forms collected indicated a satisfaction level of 87 per cent, with many commenting that the information provided will help them expand their business and develop new sales and marketing strategies. Most delegates expressed interest in attending next year’s Forum.
A panel discussion on “CLMVT: Moving towards Shared Prosperity” was also held on 15 June, 2017, to give opportunities and build tourism cooperation between the CLMVT countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand).
Underlined with the following topics: Living heritage; Atelier of creativity: Local experiences, Lively metropolis and Foodie experiences, Self-drive and overland experience, and Local luxury by cruise, speakers noted that the region was dotted with iconic tourist spots, popular cities, and scenic cruising destinations; such as, Bangkok, Angkor Wat, and Halong Bay, respectively. Myanmar and Lao PDR., too, have rich heritage sites; namely, Bagan and Luang Prabang. Also, an increase in road connectivity will be a major facilitator of travel, especially for landlocked countries; such as, Lao PDR., which has eight overland border checkpoints with Thailand, including four via Friendship Bridges over the Mekong River.
Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, briefed participants on the outcomes of the recent Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) held in Luang Prabang. The next MTF is to be held in the Thai Northeastern province of Nakhon Phanom, which will open up another major destination in the region.
On 16 June, 2017, 598 delegates, including 64 community-based tourism businesses and hotels operators, and 534 instructors and students of tourism at Northern Thailand tourism faculties and training institutes attended a special Marketing Plus seminar designed to update them with global trends.
Featuring the speakers line-up of Thailand’s leading travel and tourism executives in various fields, representing both public and private sectors, the information-packed seminar proved to be a very useful information-generating platform for those who rarely get a chance to attend international travel events and conferences.
Delegates reported that the seminar gave them new insights, and also allowed the tourism instructors to also update their knowledge-base. Students also found it useful in helping them choose career paths.
Completing a successful two-year run in Chiang Mai, the TTM+ will now move to the resort city of Pattaya for the 2018 event.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “International travel trade events are facing enormous challenges in the midst of a volatile geopolitical and economic environment and enormous changes in technology, demographics and customer preferences. This year, I am glad that we were able to get the formula right and make the TTM+ well worth the time and expense for all delegates, especially the buyers and sellers.”
The Governor again thanked all the buyers, sellers, media, local provincial officials and tourism industry of Chiang Mai, and all Ministry and TAT staff and team members for a highly successful event.
He said, “The event has given great exposure to all of North Thailand and will help us better diversify our visitors all around the country and the neighbouring regions. I also believe this has been a great preparatory step towards hosting the prestigious ASEAN Tourism Forum, also at the same venue in January 2018.”