TTM: Time for a good natter

BANGKOK, 22 May 2019:  There’s been a marked shift in the content fed into the upcoming Thailand Travel Mart this year with “a TTM Talk session taking the lead-time on the opening day of the trade show.

This means that just weeks before the TTM opens, 5 June, we know all the details of the 10 “talkers” at the TTM and not a single item or hint on the identity of international buyers hosted by taxpayers, who are attending the annual B2B event.

Of course, the sellers, who rent a table and chair at the Pattaya event, know who the buyers are as they have to make appointments but as for the rest, recent years have shown sharing information on buyers is off the agenda.

Earlier this month, TAT provided its typical response to enquiries about invited travel buyers that just fell short of an apology for not having at hand a buyers’ update.  Why are we not surprised?

TTR Weekly made the routine request knowing full well, that based on previous years, TAT would be in no hurry to identify the international buyers hosted at the show.

But with all due respect to the 10 TTM Talk guests, all Thai nationals who are experts in various fields they will need to squeeze their observations into a one-hour conference session for those sellers and buyers who register to join their presentations. And more to the point is the TTM the right venue for talks on trends, the future or the past and the challenges when everyone attending is there to secure business rather than swallow a shot of wisdom?  No one attends the TTM to be inspired or pick up points of wisdom. They are there solely to meet with overseas buyers and perform profitably for the companies renting the floor space.

 So while the Tourism Authority of Thailand says it has “overhauled the knowledge sharing session of its annual Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2019” which to all intents and purposes was irrelevant or non existent in past years, it is now planning 10 one-hour concurrent educational sessions “identifying social, cultural and ecological transitions in the context of the “kingdom’s fastest growing foreign exchange earning industry.”

Under the theme of “Making the World a Better Place through Travel”, the TTM Talk will feature a line-up of “10 well-recognised experts who will cover a broad range of social, cultural, marketing, management and development topics of critical importance to many aspects of the past, present and future of Thai tourism.”

The sessions will be held concurrently between 1500 to 1600 on Wednesday, 5 June, on the eve of the TTM at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club Pattaya.

TTR Weekly’s conclusion

Looked at the list of 10 speakers and they all deserve our respect and attention, but is this really the appropriate venue for a meaningful learning experience; a one-hour educational outing that cuts contrary to the grain of a hard sell travel mart?

Talking heads are not exactly in the frame when we attend TTM.  More to the point the sellers are not about to pick up brownie points for anything other than business leads and contracts that are done and dusted.  The talks as laudable and educational as they might be will probably go in one ear and out of the other. Is this yet another example of an industry that can talk the hind legs off a donkey?

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