Hohler Report: Bhutan auf der TTM Plus 2012 (E)

Bangkok, 20.06.2012 – Already in its 11th year since debuting in 2001, the annual Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) goes forth from strength to strength.

Under the theme “Customize Your Experience” this year’s event was successfully held at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok. Surprisingly, tourism officials from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan joined the team of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to make the list of participating countries from the GMS even bigger.

TAT was pleased to welcome some 380 seller booths and 416 international buyers to participate in promoting the tourism and service business in Thailand and its GMS counterparts. Suspiciously absent was Yunnan/China but was more than substituted by Bhutan, who made it to TTM+ for the first time.

The event started with a high-powered afternoon forum on June 6, where experts in some of the travel industry’s most promising niche-markets provided valuable insights into medical tourism, golfing, weddings and honeymoon, as well as ecotourism. It was made clear that we’re all living in a changing world and there will be many challenges coming, especially for the routine tourism business worldwide. Only very positive thinking and creativity will help to overcome the obstacles and will lead to success. “AmazingThailand” is a shining example.

At the Travel Mart there were short media briefings by Cambodia, where mass tourism is setting in, Lao PDR, which will hold the annual ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATM) at Vientiane in January 2013, Myanmar, which offers cruises and soft adventures to develop responsible tourism, and last not least Viet Nam, which introduced its new logo “Timeless Charm” and will focus on the port town of Hai Phong and the unique Red River Civilization in 2013.

It was up to Mr. Thuji Dorji Nadik, Director of Plans & Programs, Tourism Council of Bhutan, to introduce his country where happiness is a place. It was refreshing to learn that Bhutan still enjoys having a forest cover of 72% – a far cry from countries of the GMS, where forests get destroyed on a daily basis and planned river dams are threatening the livelihoods of people. Bhutan’s Paro is the international gateway of local Druk Air and tourists have to spend 200-250 USD daily as a minimum according to the season. But nature, culture, and wellness will be rewarding the tourists, who will venture into Bhutan and visit this mountainous paradise.

Thailand held its media briefing, which was packed, and revealed a solid growth of 7% in international tourist arrivals already for the first three months of 2012. In spite of the many regular crises, naturally and politically,Thailand is still a dream destination because its value for money. Tourists from Russia alone count for a 60% growth following Chinese and other Asian countries.

Visiting the exhibition hall in the remaining time of TTM+, I came across the following outstanding tourism products (in alphabetical order):

  1. Air Bagan: Treasure of Myanmar operating to 22 destinations in Myanmar
  2. Arosa Travel Service, Bangkok: Swiss managed with profound and reliable service for worldwide agents
  3. Buddy Group Hotels & Resorts: With 6 elegant properties in the prime locations of Thailand’s tourist attractions
  4. Chatrium Hotels & Residences: Flagship is located at the Chao Phraya Riverside Bangkok, while another gem is located near the Royal Lake in Myanmar’s Yangon
  5. Le Meridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa: Maybe the best located luxury hotel with health services on the island
  6. Pandaw Cruises: Operating excellent river cruises in Myanmar,Cambodia and Viet Nam promoted by John Boyd from Australia
  7. Panviman Group of Resorts: Highest standard of “boutique” service in Koh Phangan, Koh Chang and Chiang Mai
  8. Patong Paragon Resort & Spa: Recommended international deluxe resort at Phuket’s most popular beach
  9. Phi Phi Natural Resort, Phi Phi Don, Krabi: The best eco-tourism choice, when in Thailand’s most beautiful island paradise
  10. Phuket JetTours: Best tour operator for ground handling all over South Thailand
  11. Rembrandt Hotel & Towers, Bangkok: best centrally located hotel in the Sukhumvit area overseen by experienced Swedish GM Eric Hallin
  12. Serenata Hotels & Resorts Group: Comprising 15 properties in Thailand, such as “The Legend” at Chiang Rai in the North

On the social side, there was the TTM+ Welcome Reception with three networking lunches for buyers and media delegates hosted by Airports of Thailand (AOT), Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). Centara Grand at Central World invited buyers and media for a get-together at their impressive sky café to view Bangkok by night.

Also, three post-tour choices to Chiang Rai, Krabi and Sukhothai offered made sure that buyers and media get the right showcases on Thailand’s natural beauty and cultural heritage to discover during their stay in Thailand.

For further information, please contact GMS Media Travel Consultant Reinhard Hohler based in Chiang Mai by e-mail: sara@cmnet.co.th