Thailand’s main travel trade show, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2017 (TTM+), held from 14-16 June 2017 at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre (CMECC) hailed great success in promoting tourism and the tourism service business sector in Thailand as well as the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). After successful two-year run in the Northern capital of Chiang Mai, the event will move to the resort city of Pattaya in 2018.
Hundreds of buyers and sellers representing hotels, attractions, events venues, tour groups, car rental and more, attended the event from all over the world to network and promote their tourism products and services. The event has given extensive exposure to the rich culture, cuisine and heritage of the Northern Thailand and highlighted its overland cross-border proximity to the emerging Mekong region destinations of Lao PDR and Myanmar. The theme “Delivering Unique Experiences” was designed to be in line with the overall tourism marketing slogan. All the pre and post-tours were specially selected to include the spectacular range of Royal Projects, Northern Thai museums, restaurants, community-based products and heritage sites in line with that theme.
Soraya Homchuen, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Mumbai commented, “Over the years TTM+ has been providing an excellent platform for the potential business buyers and sellers to connect with the right partners and to boost their profiles in the international market. This year too, buyers, sellers and all other visitors have been greatly impressed as the event was very productive and helped buyers find the right products and services that they were seeking to maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly changing environment.”
The event was attended by 423 buyers from 56 countries. Although the main markets of China, India, Russia, Europe and the UK dominated the list, the focus on buyers from the eastern European countries, Latin America and South Africa. Moreover, first-time buyers comprised 47.8% of the total. This year, the show was attended by 362 sellers from Thailand and the neighbouring Mekong countries, the vast majority of whom were small & medium sized hotels and boutique resorts emerging by the dozens, all over the country. Giving exposure to these SMEs, most of whom cannot afford to attend the large global travel trade events, is a primary objective of the TTM+. The event also fulfilled another one of its major objectives, viz., act as a knowledge base to facilitate a better understanding of some of the key issues and trends in the global market.
The first knowledge-transfer session was held on the first day, led by Minister Kobkarn on community-based tourism. She was followed by speakers talking on crisis management, culinary tourism and the digital economy. On the second day, the media were briefed on thematic joint press conference ‘CLMVT: Moving towards Shared Prosperity’, especially the growing potential for overland tourism by representative from five countries including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand as many new cross-border checkpoints make it easier for cars and vehicles to criss-cross the region. On the third day, around 600 participants from travel & tourism training institutes and entrepreneurs in Chiang Mai benefitted from a day-long seminar series by TAT executives and some of Thailand’s leading private sector executives on market trends.
One of the key highlights of the event was a showcase of indigenous products reflecting the best of Northern Thai culture, arts and heritage. Superbly designed and elegantly crafted, the exhibits were accompanied in several instances by the artisans offering live demonstrations of their work. Buyers looking for new venues for MICE events also had a chance to check out the Chiang Mai Exhibition and Convention Centre, which is perfect for small and medium-sized events and trade shows.
Next year, the event will be held in Pattaya, the well-known beach resort city, which is located on the Eastern Seaboard, bordering Cambodia. That will allow Thai tourism to highlight its transportation connectivity with its neighbour to the East.