BANGKOK, 11 June 2015: The 14th Thailand Travel Mart Plus, earlier this month, delivered high levels of satisfaction according to an evaluation by Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants, behalf of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The entire TTM programme covered three days ending 5 June. Business and networking sessions at the mart were held on two days 4 and 5 June.
The event underscored the message of “2015 Discover Thainess” brand campaign, while it establishes a platform for small and medium-sized enterprises to promote their products to an international audience of hosted buyers.
An analysis of feedback forms by TAT in cooperation with Acorn Marketing and Research Consultants confirmed 378 buyers from 52 countries (+10% or 35 buyers) over TTM 2014 visited the show.
Most of the buyers were from China (41), the United Kingdom (27), Australia (21) and India (17).
Overall, buyers showed keen interest in new niche-market products; such as, weddings and honeymoons and health and wellness. They also saw great opportunity for developing packages linking Thailand and its neighbours in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
The number of sellers totalled 372 (down 7%, or 27 sellers) over TTM+ 2014. A breakdown by category showed that 73% of the sellers were from hotels and resorts and 7% tour operators / travel agents.
A total of 80 sellers were first-time participants, and 292 repeaters. The survey showed 41% of the sellers reporting higher sales projections this year over last year as a result of their participation in the TTM+. Fourteen exhibitors were from the GMS countries.
Four pre-TTM+ tour programmes attracted 49 buyers and media who surveyed new tourism products and services in Bangkok and the surrounding areas as guests of TAT.
The most popular routes for the 49 participants were the “Experience the Slow Life of Old Bangkok”, “Experience Street Food Tour” and the Bangkok Night Ride (Biking Tour).
During the event, media briefings were held by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Yunnan Provincial Tourism Development Committee, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Another media event was a presentation on ZEB’s River Journey by National Geographic. All of them underscored Thailand’s growing transport links with the Greater Mekong Subregion, and the role of one of Asia’s best-known rivers in facilitating travel and tourism in the region.
For the first time TAT organised an event to unveil a strategy to better position Thailand as a Muslim Friendly Destination. In the morning session, 95 buyers and media catering to Muslim clients from 13 countries heard comprehensive lectures about the readiness of Thai tourism products and services to cater to the Muslim market.
TAT also launched a new Mobile App as a handy guide for Muslim tourists to find places of interest. In the afternoon session, the buyers and media met with 92 Thai tourism operators to discuss business opportunities. The visitors were also taken on tours covering 10 routes nationwide to survey products, facilities and services for Muslim tourists.
TAT acting governor, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, noted that the keen interest by buyers from China should ensure that Thailand meets its visitor arrivals targets in the years to come.
But she emphasised that TAT would shift its attention towards better nationwide dispersal of tourists and growing their average length of stay and daily expenditure.
Both these latter strategies are being met by the launch of new promotions focussing on the “12 Hidden Gems” and strategies directed at niche-market segments; such as, culinary tourism, health and wellness, weddings and honeymoons, sports tourism, marine tourism and green tourism.
She said seller feedback suggested the business appointments should be longer than 15 minutes. Both buyers and sellers also mentioned the need for a free Wi-Fi Internet service at the show venue.
“The input and feedback will help us become more focussed in preparing our marketing plans for 2016. It is clear that we have to work on a retention strategy for existing customer segments and new-acquisition strategy to probe new countries and emerging markets. This will be the way going forward.”