BANGKOK,6 March, 2018: Thailand’s annual travel show, the Thailand Travel Mart 2018, will be hosted at Pattaya’s Ocean Marina Yacht Club in a giant outdoor marquee for the first time in the event’s history.
The decision to take the annual show to a relatively unknown venue in the country’s exhibitions market surprised the travel industry.
At the close of the TTM held June 2017 in Chiang Mai, it was understood the event would be held at PEACH, the Pattaya city’s only international exhibition centre and the largest on the eastern seaboard.
TAT, which owns and manages the TTM, gave no reason why it decided to host the national travel show at a relatively unknown exhibition address and some distances from the main cluster of hotels on Pattaya’s bay.
TTR Weekly sent email questions to TAT and received just a short confirmation that the show would be hosted at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club as stated in a recent press release. When asked why the TAT has not posted a floor space plan on the TTM 2018 official website, even though seller registration opened, 1 March, it said “the venue arrangement is still being facilitated.”
However, in response to a second email question, the TAT confirmed a giant tent would be erected at the Ocean Marina venue to accommodate seller booths.
“As everything is under the process of arrangement, the website has been updated, but some finalised information still needs to be provided on the website,” the statement read.
A check of the Ocean Marina Yacht Club website fails to enlighten the visitor on its “exhibition facilities” for large events. It will require considerable floor space to host a show of the size of TTM and the only practical option for TAT is a custom-built marquee similar to a circus tent equipped with air conditioning, various entrances to meet fire safety requirements and protected walkways from the marina’s core permanent facilities to the tent site. The tent must be able to accommodate 300 seller booths (9 sq m each).
Hotel websites are notorious for missing key features and in this case there is not even a hint of a room count for the marina’s hotel, which is according to the booking channel, Expedia, around 51 rooms. The marina’s website does suggest there are an unspecified number of meeting rooms that could be used for onsite registration secretariat and press activities.
The above graphic shows a layout for expo booths that used individual tents set out on the forecourt of the marina during an annual yacht show and regatta, last year.
Officially called the Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion (TTM+) 2018 the event will adopt the theme “Million Shades of Romance”, for the 13 to 15 June show.
This might explain, TAT’s decision to use a marquee, a quaint option with views of yachts and seascapes, but during June there is always the threat of rainstorms and strong winds at the coastal site.
The romantic theme means seller companies linked to weddings, romance and honeymoon travel will be given priority to book booths. TAT is expecting a buyer to seller ratio of 1:1.
TAT claims hosting the show in Pattaya is part of a strategy to shift Thailand’s tourism industry away from mass markets to niche markets, especially high-spending, long-staying travellers.
However, the more straightforward explanation is probably linked to the government’s massive investment in infrastructure on the eastern seaboard and the decision to built fast rail system that will link Pattaya’s U-tapao Airport, 30 km south of the resort, with the two aviation gateways (Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports) in Bangkok.
Of interest to TTM’s international buyers, there are opportunities to survey routes and travel content in provinces beyond Pattaya such as Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat that are now more accessible to international travellers after Qatar Airways started flights from Doha to U-tapao airport.
There is also potential to develop overland tours to neighbouring Cambodia, which borders Trat province where new resorts and islands are opening up along the Sihanoukville coast.
TTM sellers pay THB 30,000 (+7% vat) for a basic booth with two delegates included. 280 organisations will be accommodated; 70% on a first-come basis and 30% linked to niche markets in romantic travel and newcomers to TTM. Organisations are given 32 appointment slots of 15 minutes each over the two-day trade show.
The deadline to register as a buyer or seller expires 10 April. For more information visit http://www.thailandtravelmartplus.com
(Report revised and updated 1600, 6 March. TTM fee added 7 March.)