BANGKOK, 13 July, 2018: PATA Travel Mart, due to be hosted in Langkawi, 12 to 14 September, should attract close to 2,000 local and international tourism industry players.
“Not only for Langkawi, PATA Travel Mart will be the premier tourism event for the Malaysian tourism industry this year,” Langkawi Development Authority chief executive officer, Datuk Azizan Noordin, told local news media.
He claimed as many as 2,000 travel industry players and tourism officials could attend, while confirming more than 90 Malaysian organisations had booked exhibition space at the PTM that will be held at the island’s Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre.
Around 40 tour operators and international media practitioners will also join special tours to inspect tourist destinations in Kedah and Perlis.
PTM gathers tour operators from around the world for B2B appointment sessions with travel content providers representing destinations across the Asia-Pacific region.
But at this year’s event, the Pacific Asia Travel Association will also endorse twin-city pairing that will be highlighted at a ceremony to establish a specialised association of sister cities, worldwide.
The founding of the Twin Cities World Tourism Association will take place on the sidelines of PATA’s trade show.
PATA is backing the initiative to encourage the twinning of cities and to promote two-way tourism
Twin cities, also known as sister cities, usually engage in joint festivals, social and cultural activities. In some instances they foster trade links, but the most obvious benefit is to promote tourism between the two-paired cities.
During PTM 2018, the TCWTA founding president, Thomas Binder, who is mayor of Gossau-Zurich in Switzerland, will formally announce the association’s launch during the inaugural Twin Cities World Tourism Forum that will take place on the sidelines of PTM.
The TCWTA board will consist of 13 city mayors, plus Hüseyin Baraner, the only non-mayor member, who will be appointed general secretary.
A meeting of the board will also be held in Zürich, or Gossau, at a later date in order to sign the charter of the Twin Cities World Tourism Association. After that the board will meet just once a year.
PTM recognised as Asia’s longest running travel trade mart, brings together global travel planners and suppliers for three days of networking and pre-arranged appointment sessions.
The event shifts around the Asia-Pacific region giving travel planners an opportunity to explore and check out a different host destination each year.
In the run up to PTM, airfares have increased on all popular routes to Langkawi. Most of the delegates will have to stop in Kuala Lumpur to connect with a flight to the north Malaysian holiday island.
Unlike Phuket, Langkawi needs more direct flights from the main tourism and aviation hubs in Asia.
For most delegates the choice of airlines will be limited to AirAsia for a low-cost flight, or Malaysia Airlines, which has its hub in Kuala Lumpur.
Fares have also been steadily rising in Asia on the back of higher fuel costs since April.
For example, fares from India rose from USD290 last month to USD 337 on the New Delhi-Langkawi route using AirAsia. Malaysia Airlines tags its best fare at around USD430 for the same journey with a stop in Kuala Lumpur.
From Bangkok the latest check pegs the lowest roundtrip fare to Langkawi on AirAsia at around THB6,005 (USD180). There is a change of plane in Kuala Lumpur.
Out of Hong Kong, the roundtrip fare is around USD232.65 (THB7,759) up from USD176.21 (THB5,900) in mid-June.
The flight from Singapore to Langkawi remains a bargain at USD83.93 (THB2,699).