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Published on : Tuesday, June 21, 2016
The decision to move Thailand’s most important travel trade show to the Northern capital of Chiang Mai appears to have paid off, with the majority of buyers hailing the opportunity to experience a rapidly-emerging destination.
Feedback forms received from both buyers and sellers who attended the Thailand Travel Mart 2016 Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion between 8-10 June, 2016, indicated high levels of satisfaction with the quality and diversity of the entire programme, the potential business expected to be generated as well as the pre- and post-event tours.
The annual B2B event is primarily intended to create more business opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises, promote provincial and regional destinations, and expose the growing range and diversity of niche-market products.
This year, the event was held for the first time outside Bangkok. The choice of Chiang Mai was designed to showcase Thailand’s northern region as a gateway and bridgehead to the Northern ASEAN nations — Cambodia, Lao PDR., Myanmar and Vietnam.
In addition to the events at the main trade show, several pre- and post-tour programmes provided an opportunity for buyers and media to survey the emerging range of quality products and services in Northern Thailand and its unique “Thai Lanna” culture and heritage.
While the leisure component was the dominant focus, the event also showcased Northern Thailand’s potential as a MICE destination. The main trade show was held at the recently-opened Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre and a “Lanna Night” reception was hosted at the Chiang Mai Grandview Hotel and Convention Centre.
An analysis of feedback forms indicated high levels of satisfaction across the board. A summary of results:
– The event was attended by 345 buyers from 56 countries. Of these 154 (44.63%) were first-timers and 191 (55.36%) were repeaters. Most of the buyers were from China (42), the United Kingdom (27), Australia (23), India (19), and Italy (13). By region, the buyers came from Europe and Africa (135), America (21), East Asia (61), ASEAN (69), domestic (29) and on-site buyers (30). Another 115 trade visitors also participated in the event.
– 92% of buyers were satisfied with the TTM+ 2016. They felt the shift to Chiang Mai as a new location helped them to gain new experiences and the opportunity to touch the way of life, culture, tradition and tourism services in the city and its surrounding areas.
– More than 90% of buyers were satisfied with the management and organisation of the event as well as the information provided and the warm welcome. Nearly 90% of buyers intend to participate in the TTM+ 2017.
– The number of sellers totalled 344, of whom 76% were hotels and resorts, 7% tour operators/travel agents, 7% other travel services, and 4% GMS countries. 98 sellers were first-time participants and 244 repeaters.
Sellers were largely satisfied with the diversity of buyers and the opportunity to tap new customer segments. 73% were satisfied with the overall management and good hospitality. They identified clear benefits of attending the TTM+ in terms of expanding their know-how, building confidence in tapping international markets, and gaining new business opportunities. 70% of sellers intend to participate in the TTM+ 2017.
The tour programmes were also very highly rated with an average score of 4.7 out of 5. Respondents said they appreciated the opportunity to experience local Thai traditions and community-based tourism. Several buyers said they would feature many of the products and services in future tour itineraries.
Participants were also happy with the Forum for Buyers and Sellers. They praised the quality of the speakers and the content of the presentations, which they found to be interesting and useful for identifying business strategies.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, said “We would like to thank the entire Thai tourism industry as well as our sponsors, airline partners, and all the public and private sector organisations for their invaluable support and cooperation in helping to advance the cause of Thailand’s largest foreign-exchange earning service industry.”
“We are more than satisfied with the successful outcome. The input and feedback will help us become more focussed in preparing our marketing plans,” the Governor added.