In a very brief conversation with The Phuket News, Ms Kanokkittika this morning said she was unable to comment at length on the issue, but did clearly note, “I can confirm that Phuket will host the TTM+2020 next year.”
The confirmation followed serious concerns that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had pulled the plug on Phuket hosting the major B2B event.
Thai Hotels Association Vice President Kongsak Khoopongsakorn yesterday (Nov 18) revealed that had filed a request for Phuket to host the event to TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn and to TAT Phuket Office Director Ms Kanokkittika after the island was promoted by the TAT as the event host location, only for the official event website to have Phuket as the host pulled down.
The official Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2020 website as of Tuesday (Nov 19) still carried the message “TTM+ 2020 is coming soon. Please stay tuned!” while carrying the official TAT logo. (See website here.)
“The Thai Hotels Association, Southern Chapter has paid much attention to the importance of tourism development along the Andaman coast, so we, tourism business owners in Phuket and in neighboring provinces, together have presented Phuket to be the host of the event,” said Mr Kongsak, who serves as President of the Thai Hotels Association, Southern Chapter.
“Phuket is ready – we have the people and we have the facilities,” he said.
Mr Kongsak explained that just by hosting such an event could give tourism to the Andaman coast a healthy boost.
“It is expected that more than B2.5 billion in revenue can be generated, and the event will attract more than 700 Thai and foreign tourism business operators,” he said.
“The event will be an opportunity for Thai tourism operators to negotiate and exchange information on goods and services between buyers and sellers. This event will also increase the experience of doing international business for Thai officials and private companies,” Mr Kongsak noted.
“Additionally, at this annual event there are pre- and post-events that will give foreign buyers the opportunity to visit Phuket and neighboring provinces,” he added.
“Before this, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2020 website announced the event is scheduled to be held in Phuket on June 1-3, 2020, but after that the announcement was removed and at the same time there was a rumor that the location of the event had been changed,” Mr Kongsak explained.
“Therefore the Thai Hotels Association, Southern Chapter is concerned about the event. The success of the event depends on many factors, including the host’s readiness, tourist attractions which will be presented to tourism agencies, transportation, as well as buyers and sellers’ desire to participate the event,” he noted.
Based on the online survey responses from 72% of the buyers and 38% of the sellers who attended the TTM+2019, held June 5-7 at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, in Pattaya, the event was expected to generate B2.77 billion in economic and business value, the TAT reported in July.
A total of 59% of the buyers and sellers said they entered into immediate business contracts, a strong indication that the trade show was attended by decision-makers on both sides, the TAT noted.
Under the theme of “New Shades of Emerging Destinations”, the event was held for the second consecutive year in Pattaya to emphasise its new image as a tourist destination for families and luxury travellers with a broad diversity of tourism products and services.
The TAT invited 338 buyers from 51 countries. In addition to representatives from top markets such as China (64), the UK (25), and India (23), the invitees included selected buyers from emerging source markets such as Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Turkey and Ukraine, the TAT explained.
To ensure the participation of serious buyers, all hosted buyers paid a US$300 registration fee, non-hosted international buyers paid US$200, and domestic buyers, US$100. Sellers paid a registration fee of B35,000 for two delegates, the TAT confirmed in its report.
The number of exhibitors totalled 370, of whom 89 were first-timers to the TTM+. By category, the exhibitors included Hotels and Resorts (277), Emerging Destinations (20), Associations (9); Entertainment Businesses (12); Tour Operators/Travel Agents (23), private companies from the Greater Mekong Subregion countries (10); National Tourism Organisations from the GMS (10); and other travel services (9).
Nearly all the buyers (99.18%) reported meeting new sellers; 97.92% said they had received more up-to-date information; 89.71% said they were satisfied with their participation, and 93.80% said they had achieved their business goals.
Moreover, 93% of the buyers felt the registration process was more organised and convenient; 92.47% felt that the sellers were of good quality, and 88.84% were satisfied with the products and services they saw.
Asked specifically about the potential of the “Emerging Destination Show Case”, 85.06% of the buyers felt that the products and services offered had the potential for inclusion in future tour programmes.
Most of the buyers responding to the online response survey (85.19%) said they intended to join the TTM+ in 2020
Amongst the sellers, 90% said they were satisfied with the event and would join again next year.
The media list to provide coverage of the TTM+2019 included 50 domestic and 84 international media from 26 countries including emerging markets; such as, Poland, Vietnam and Latvia.
Media monitoring indicated an estimate of 111 million impressions amongst readers and viewers, the TAT noted.