Thailand welcomes over 400 buyers to TTM+ 2024 in Khao Lak

Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2024 was held this week at the JW Marriott Khao Lak, attracting over 425 global buyers, generating some 15,000 appointments with 430 sellers from across the country.

The message this year was the sharing of meaningful travel experiences, with a strong focus on sustainable tourism development. Phang Nga is poised to be Thailand’s next tourism hub, with an international airport set to open in 2027.

Mr. Sermsak Pongpanit, Minister of Tourism and Sports, presided over the opening ceremony. Joining him at the event were Miss. Niracha Banditchat, Vice Governor of Phang-Nga Province, Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Mr. Lertsak Ponklin, President of Phang-Nga Tourism Association, and officials and figures from the Thai public and private sectors.

Amongst the 400+ buyers, 21 buyers and media from Australia and New Zealand, who were also able to sample some meaningful local experiences before and after the event, attending tours in Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi.

Delegates were treated to two gala events at nearby resorts, La Vela where the entertainment even included a DJ performance by Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, TAT Governor, and La Vita Sana, which showcased local food, wine and handicrafts with a walking street atmosphere.

Delegates also attended the grand opening of luxury resort: The Little Shore, where they were entertained with live music, fire dancing performances and fireworks.

This year, in its 21st edition, the TTM+ presents the theme ‘Amazing Thailand: Your Stories Never End’, the latest marketing communication campaign recently launched by the TAT. The dynamic theme shines a spotlight on Thailand’s direction towards delivering meaningful travel experiences.

Ms. Thapanee said, “The TTM+ 2024 has been conceptualised to showcase diverse tourism offerings and our ‘smart tourism’ strategy, which is aimed at elevating Thai tourism’s competitiveness.”

The TTM+ 2024 enjoyed a strong turnout, with a record number of buyers: 425 from East Asia (30.4%), Europe (25.2%), ASEAN, South Asia and the South Pacific (20.9%), the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East (11.3%), as well as Thailand (12.2%).

There are 430 booths of quality sellers from across the country, including 46 exhibitors who won the Thailand Tourism Awards 2023. Of the total, there are 360 hotels and resorts, 34 tour operators, 18 entertainment venues and attractions, 8 transportation and carriers, and 10 companies such as online travel platforms, shopping malls, golf clubs, and vineyards. In addition, there are over 100 media from overseas and in Thailand.

Organisers estimate that the event will generate over 3 billion Baht to Thailand’s tourism industry and distribute no less than 30 million back to the communities.

At the Thailand Product Update, buyers and media were briefed on Thailand’s tourism direction and marketing strategy, as well as the focus on sustainability.

The TTM Talk comprised two topics, delivered by Ms. Victoria Loomes, Head of Trends at TrendWatching, on “Navigating Tomorrow: Global Consumer Trends Reshaping the Tourism Industry” and Ms. Chudaree Debhakam, Head Chef at Baan Tepa, a 2 Michelin-star restaurant, on “Thailand’s Gastronomic Journey: Towards a Sustainable Food Future”.

The TTM+ annually showcases unique tourism-related products. This year, the event showcased four diverse tourism experiences in Phang-Nga. These include ‘Try & Taste’ – a selection of delicious coffees and teas from various regions such as Thai-Style coffee from Kopi Kuapa and organic tea from Sawanbondin; ‘Showcase’ – unveiling the secrets behind local crafts like those from Morgan Village and Batik from Takuapa; ‘Local Product’ – presenting authentic local dishes and fresh fruits; and ‘Unleash’ – craft activities on batik painting or beadwork workshops.

Reflecting on the event’s theme, the half-day pre-tours presented hidden gems of Phang-Nga, while the post-tours were crafted to allow participants to create never-ending stories in other parts of Thailand such as Phuket, Krabi and Ko Samui in the south and Chiang Mai and Lamphun in the north.

TAT continues to prioritise the effort to minimise the environmental impact of waste generated from the event. Actions include properly sorting waste into organic, recyclable, and general waste categories and sending them to appropriate destinations for further management. This is aimed to help reduce waste sent to landfills, following the Zero Landfills concept in the “Reduce World Mess: Zero Landfills” activity.

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