PATTAYA, 21 June, 2018: The Thailand Travel Mart Plus ended with the Tourism Authority of Thailand confirming the event attracted 290 hosted buyers from 48 countries.
The count was down dramatically from 419 buyers at the 2017 TTM in Chiang Mai, probably due to the emphasis on hosting specialised buyers working in the romance travel segment.
Seller attendance stood at 336 for the Pattaya event, which was closer to the 358 sellers who attended the Chiang Mai TTM in 2017.
The TTM was last hosted in Pattaya in 2001 when it was a relatively new show with a couple of appearances at venues in Bangkok under its belt.
It quickly became the nation’s most successful trade show hosted in various exhibition halls in Bangkok until it moved to Chiang Mai for a two-year stint in 2016.
This year, for the first time in its history the show was hosted in an elaborate marquee at the Ocean Marina, Pattaya, with smaller tents used for networking and power lunches.
The traditional booth layout was replaced by table and chairs in an open design to fit space restraints. Overall, sellers responded positively to the floor layout, although some claimed booths were more appropriate for business discussions.
Regular trade show attendees said this was a common problem at most trade shows. The shows advertise two or three days, but the business value tails off on the last day come lunchtime.
TAT in its post-event assessment said survey forms “indicated encouraging support for holding the event for the first time in a yacht marina with a targeted theme focussed on romance, honeymoons and weddings.”
Commenting on the event, TAT governor, Yuthasak Supasorn said; that “like any new experiment, it carried an element of risk, but we are glad to see that it paid off.”
He claimed there were two “important changes made this year making a break from chasing numbers and shifting away from using the traditional exhibition hall venue.”
The latter was an accurate assessment, although the comment on “chasing numbers” was not a new sentiment. Ending the chase to record ever climbing tourist arrivals has been a TAT and Ministry of Tourism topic for more than three years.
“By focussing on the niche-market theme of romance, the numbers became less important. The over-arching goal was to create more exposure and networking opportunities for our small and medium-sized enterprises,” the governor explained.
He added: “Of the 336 sellers, the vast majority were from the hotels and accommodation sector, especially SMEs. Because all weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries and other romantic holidays are different, specialist buyers got a chance to see the sheer diversity of our product range.”
Despite the clarion call to look at revenue, length of stay and quality niche market tourism, TAT omitted to provide an estimate of the TTM’s worth financially.
At the close of the 2017 event, TAT announced that the show delivered a financial value of USD 30 million over the two days of appointments. So far, no such assessment has been floated for this year’s event.
However, TAT did suggest that the table-top format eliminated booth construction costs and gave all delegates an opportunity to network and discuss business in a much more open and friendly and hospitable atmosphere.
The conclusion: “We received some very useful feedback and suggestions. It will go a long way towards helping to continue improving this leading show for our SMEs, especially those who cannot afford to exhibit in international trade shows,” the governor commented.