Thailand’s future tourism plans revealed at TTM Plus 2016
Thailand Travel Mart 2016 Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Sub-region (TTM+ 2016) has officially come to a close, with organisers deeming the Chiang Mai event a huge success.
This was the first year the annual B2B exhibition has been hosted in Chiang Mai; Bangkok has been home to the event for the past 14 years.
Thailand Authority of Tourism (TAT) Australia marketing manager Sherly Handjojo said the event was particularly fruitful for the 22 Australian travel agents and wholesalers in attendance.
“This trade show is the largest B2B event organised by Tourism Authority of Thailand and is a significant one for Australian contracting managers to strengthen their relationships with their existing Thai suppliers as well as creating new networks,” Ms Handjojo said.
“A surprise treat from TAT Australia awaited these agents after their first whole day of networking – a beautiful Thai spa experience at RarinJinda Wellness Spa.
“To complete their ‘Land of Smiles’ experience, they were also privileged to participate in a variety of pre and post tours across Thailand.”
This year’s event was also an opportunity for industry leaders to discuss and debate what the future holds for tourism in Thailand. Here are our top takeaways from TTM+ 2016:
CLMVT can be marketed as a single destination, single ASEAN visa is in the pipeline
At a joint press conference, senior tourism officials from the five nations in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region said there is potential for Cambodia, Lao PDR., Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT) to be packaged and promoted as a single destination.
The officials said, given the similarities between the five countries, the Sub-Region can prosper together by collaborating on tourism activities.
“Firstly, we must set a common goal to promote the CLMVT as a single destination. Secondly, we should look at improving connectivity and linkages, and thirdly, we should look at turning our common goal into actions,” TAT governor Mr Yuthasak Supasorn said.
Mr Supasorn also said a single visa to allow more convenient access between CLMVT is in the pipeline and expects it will be available in the next two years.
Sports tourism is growing rapidly in Thailand
Also on this year’s agenda was Thailand’s ambition to become a ‘dream destination for sport’.
On the opening day of TTM+ 2016, Thailand Minister of Tourism & Sports H.E. Mrs Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said major events in cycling, golfing, car and motorbike racing and Muay Thai will draw crowds from all over the world in the coming years.
“Sport has always been a big thing for Thai people and this government who has recognised the importance of sport to create unity. So why not share what we have with our friends from around the world?” H.E. Mrs Kobkarn said.
“Thailand has the facilities to support a wide range of sport, for example more than 300 golf courses; many bike lanes, accessible in every province; more than 5,000 boxing gyms for Muay Thai; and the number one scuba diving club in the world.
“Thailand is entering a sport tourism era and I would like to invite all of you to join us.”
Speaking with ETB Travel News, TAT executive director ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Region Dr. Walailak Noypayak said in the year ahead TAT will promote just how affordable a luxury holiday can be in Thailand.
“We can offer affordable luxury. We have five or six star hotels even here [in Chiang Mai] and five or six star spas,” Dr. Walailak said.
“This is what we will focus on for this year and the years ahead.”
Dr. Walailak said TAT wants to show Australians there is more to Thailand than just great beaches.
“We will promote more and we’ll give them more information about what we can offer. We offer many things besides beaches. We have nature, we have culture and you can enjoy it with your own family,” she said.
Chiang Mai is well-equipped as an international tourist and MICE destination
The decision to hold TTM+ 2016 in Chiang Mai was a very strategic one, as the entire north and northeast region is set to become a major bridgehead between Thailand and its neighbouring countries.
Dr. Walailak said the event showcases Chiang Mai’s readiness as a MICE and tourist destination.
“Chiang Mai has been exposed to international tourists for nearly 30 years,” she said.
“We can see the potential of this city as an exit and entry point to other areas, including our lesser known cities.”
She explained, Chiang Mai’s attractiveness, quality infrastructure and professionalism make it an ideal MICE destination and a great fit for TTM+ 2016.
If you missed this year’s event, make sure you register to participate in TTM+ 2017. Learn more about the event here.