Two major Thailand travel marts, Chiang Mai and the North Tourism Forum and the Phuket Andaman Travel Mart, are being held consecutively this year, capitalising on direct flights between the destinations and promoting the ‘Rose of the North’ and the ‘Pearl of the South’ as complementary travel experiences.
According to TAT Vice Governor, Mrs Juthaporn Roengron-asa, combining the trade shows was partly due to convenience, but more so because the two destinations work hand-in-hand to give a complete overview of Thailand.
“Normally we arrange the Phuket and Chiang Mai travel marts once every two years,” she said. “Last year Chiang Mai was cancelled, so we rearranged it for this year, which just happened to be at the same time as the Phuket event. At the moment we have direct flights between the destinations, so overseas tourists can now combine the culture of Chiang Mai, the Rose of the North, with relaxation on the beach at Phuket, the Pearl of the Andaman.”
The week-long combined program kicked off on Monday November 21 in Chiang Mai in Thailand’s north, with 358 buyers, media representatives and TAT officials from 28 countries converging on what is known as ‘The Most Splendid City of Culture’.
Delegates were invited to participate in classic Chiang Mai experiences and tourism products such as the exciting eco-tourist jungle zipline experience, The Flight of the Gibbon, behind the scenes tours at the Chiang Mai Night Safari, and cultural visits to temples and hill tribe villages. Spa treatments, shopping experiences and boutique hotel inspections were also on the agenda.
The forum was officially opened at the Chiang Mai Night Safari on Tuesday November 22, with delegates treated to traditional Lanna entertainment, cabaret-style shows and a parade featuring finalists of the Miss Belgium competition, who are in Thailand for their crowning ceremony. The evening concluded with a fascinating trip on the Night Safari tram, viewing tigers, elephants, antelope and zebra at night when the animals are most active.
Buyers and sellers then converged on the Holiday Inn Hotel for a business matching session on Wednesday 23, followed by a table top session at Chiang Mai Airport Plaza.
The Phuket Andaman Travel Mart 2011 commences on Friday November 25, with three days of table top sales, receptions and tours exploring Phuket and beyond.