PATA hunts for Khon Kaen’s treasure

KHON KAEN, Thailand, 30 November 2018: The PATA Destination Marketing Forum 2018 with the theme “Growth with Goals’, officially opened Wednesday, attracting 290 delegates from 25 destinations.

The event, hosted by the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and the Tourism Authority of Thailand with the support of Khon Kaen Province, brought together delegates from the public and private sectors for discussions on major issues in marketing and managing tourism growth to lesser-known destinations.

Delegates travelled from Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, The Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, USA and Vietnam.

Solo performance on the traditional Isan ‘Khaen’ instrument welcomes opening session

Addressing a media briefing at the AVANI Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre Thursday, PATA CEO Mario Hardy said: “This event stems from the need to help secondary and tertiary areas grow and develop into widely recognised, bucket-listed tourism destinations.

“Aligning with our advocacy theme of tourism dispersal the forum shines the spotlight on new and emerging destinations, introducing delegates to lesser-known yet attractive corners of the world. It is designed to assist communities economically in these destinations by encouraging dispersion of tourists to new frontiers.”

Stressing the importance of holding such events, he added, “As travel and tourism becomes a greater contributor to the economic well-being of each destination, plans for the responsible development and sustaining those elements generating growth must be taken into consideration.”

Back to Isan’s colourful pre-history

Khon Kaen provincial governor, Somsak Changtragul said: “I am delighted that Khon Kaen was selected to represent the Northeast, or Isan Thai local culture. This is the first time that you will touch the charm of Isan – that is awaiting for you to discover.”

TCEB senior vice president – strategic business development & innovation, Supawan Teerarat added: “Khon Kaen is definitely a rising star in both tourism and MICE. This province, however, is a member of Thailand’s northeast region, the largest and economically challenged region, but rich in nature, culture and history. It is the reason why TCEB has made Khon Kaen one of the country’s highlighted MICE cities along with Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Phuket.”

Tour of the dinosaur museum at Phuwian, Khon Kaen province.

“This PATA event compliments TAT’s latest campaign of “Amazing Thailand Go Local,” said TAT deputy governor for international marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and the Americas), Srisuda Wanaphinyosak.

“This is a landmark project to promote the kingdom’s emerging lesser known destinations as well using a ‘Hub and Hook’ strategy, with the main city acting as a hub and hooking up to nearby lesser known destinations.”

Khon Kaen is considered a gateway to Udon Thani, Nong Khai, and Kalasin provinces.

On Thursday, delegates joined a technical tour and tourism marketing treasure hunt. They were challenged to discover the gems of Khon Kaen and the surrounding area by engaging with the culture and people of Khon Kaen, tasting the food, admiring landscape and immersing in the province’s history

A trial run learning how to make Papaya salad (Som Tam)

The activities during the day will be incorporated into the interactive digital marketing workshop taking place during Friday, 30 November.

Other topics on the agenda included the ‘Status of Destination Management Around the World’, ‘The Role of Local Experiences in Destination Marketing’, ‘Managing the Disconnect between Destination Organisations and Communities’, ‘Trans-border Marketing: Case Studies of GMS’, ‘Fighting Under-tourism Through Innovative Storytelling’, ‘Calculating our Impact as Destinations’, and ‘Leveraging Technology to Revolutionise the Travel Space’.

Delegates will hear from established industry professionals representing Art Inspire Company Limited, BBC Global News, Capilano University, E-Tourism Frontiers, Forte Hotel Group, Go Beyond Asia, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, Resonance, Swisscontact, USAID, Venture Republic, and Yaana Ventures.

Photos: First day field trip including museum of prehistoric history focusing on the dinosaur era. Credit: Steve Ross.