Under the theme “Experience with Us”, the annual Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Sub-region (TTM+) was scheduled to be held on June 3-5, 2015 at the Exhibition Center Hall, Muang Thong Thani inBangkok. Some 374 sellers had the chance to meet 362 buyers from 50 countries, focusing on trade and business in the tourism industry. There were some pre- and post-tours for buyers and media to enjoy, but the official event started with a gorgeous welcome reception on the evening of June 3, where female Thai Minister H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul gave all the guests a hearty invitation.
This year’s TTM+ highlighted four major products in special pavilions, namely Ecotourism & Experience, Golf, Health & Wellness, and Wedding & Honeymoon. Actually, the launch of the “2015 Discover Thai-ness” campaign by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will have the aim of making “Thai-ness” a globally recognized brand such as Thai Food, Thai Art, Thai Way of Life, Thai Wellness, Thai Festivals, Thai Wisdom, and Thai Fun. Thus, the spirit of “Thai-ness” is the blend of traditions and beliefs and makes the country stand out as offering unique experiences to all visitors of Thailand.
Another TAT campaign is to promote “12 Cities Hidden Gems” to visit, namely the secondary destinations of Nan, Lampang, Phetchabun, Loei, Buriram, Ratchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Trat, Chantaburi, Chumphon, Trang, and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
But most astonishing at this year’s TTM+ was TAT’s bid to boost Muslim visitors via “Muslim Friendly Destination” Mega FAM trip to promote Thailand as a “Muslim Friendly Destination” by inviting 113 representatives of travel agencies and media from 13 Muslim countries around the world. This “Muslim Friendly Destination” is a timely pilot project to attract Muslim visitors to Thailand and to show them that Thailand has the potential and readiness to take care this emerging market.
On June 4 in the morning, there were the media briefings of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) by its Executive Director Jens Thraenhart and of the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Development Committee by Oliver Huang, who introduced Yunnan in China for the discerned travelers as <Tourism Paradise of the World>.
On June 4 in the afternoon, there followed the media briefings of Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar. It was up to Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT’s Acting Governor, to announce the target of 28 million visitors to Thailand in 2015, some 6 million of them from China. According to a survey, Bangkok is the second best tourist city of the world after Paris inFrance and followed by London in UK. Also, she mentioned the urgent tourism cooperation efforts with the neighboring countries in the wake of the coming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015, especially with Cambodiaand Myanmar, two countries, which both show high tourism potentials in the future.
Finally, I recommend the following tourism products seen at the exhibition hall during the travel mart (in alphabetical order):
- Air Bagan, with twice a week regional service between Yangon and Chiang Mai. Go to: www.airbagan.com
- Aye Yar River View Resort, Old Bagan. Go to: www.ayeyarriverviewresort.com
- Best Western International, Mandalay. Go to: www.bestwesternasia.com
- Chatrium Hotel, Yangon. Go to: www.chatrium.com
- Hotel Royal Bangkok@Chinatown. Go to: www.hotelroyalbangkok.com
- Khao Lak Orchid Beach Resort. Go to: www.khaolakorchid.com
- Le Meridien Chiang Mai. Go to: www.lemeridienchiangmai.com
- Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel, Luang Prabang. Go to: www.angsana.com
- Pandaw Cruises, pioneering the great rivers of Myanmar and the Mekong. Go to: www.pandaw.com
- Patong Bay Garden Hotel. Go to: www.patongbaygarden.com
- Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok. Go to: www.rembrandtbkk.com
- Vacation Village Company, with 3 properties down in Krabi. Go to: www.vacationvillage.com
Last not least, for the adventurous tourists to go the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, there should be no problem, as Thailand is becoming a Muslim friendly destination.
Written by : Reinhard Hohler