Bangkok, 17 January, 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to use the 38th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2019 set for 14-18 January in Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, to highlight the twin themes of enhancing ASEAN connectivity and sustainability.
The ATF is ASEAN’s premier travel marketplace and includes a major trade show (Travel Exchange, TRAVEX) plus meetings of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers and Heads of NTOs, as well as their Dialogue Partners: India, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. This year, the week-long event is set to welcome some 1,500 international delegates with the theme of “ASEAN: THE POWER OF ONE”.
This year is especially important for Thailand, which is chairing the 10-member regional grouping under the theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.” More than 180 meetings across the entire ASEAN system are to be held in Thailand this year, which will see significant participation by both the public and private sectors and media representatives.
At the ATF 2019 in Ha Long bay, the Thai contingent of exhibitors will include 20 hotels and resorts and various other tourism-related businesses at the Thailand Pavilion between 16-18 January.
The full list of Thai exhibitors is: Dragonfly Tour, Hotel Myth Phuket, Mgallery & Novotel Phuket Vintage Park, Mahanakhon SkyWalk, Manathai Hotels & Resorts, Mercure Bangkok Sukhumvit 11, Mode Sathorn Hotel, Mom Tri’s Villa Royale, Orchidacea Resort, Kata Beach Phuket, Pavilion Samui Villas & Resort, Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa (Phunumkiat Co., Ltd.), Rasa Hospitality, ROBINSON Club Khao Lak, SALA Hospitality Group Co., Ltd., Sea Sun Sand Resort & Spa, Sri Panwa Phuket, Sukosol Hotels, The Old Phuket – Karon Beach Resort, The Vijitt Resort Phuket, Twinpalms Hotels & Resorts, and Veranda Resort.
The official ASEAN tourism meetings will mainly be held at the FLC Ha Long Bay Resort while the three-day TRAVEX travel trade exhibition from 16 to 18 January, 2019, will take place at the Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Centre (QNEPEC), a 21,000 sq m. state-of-the-art venue modelled after a local pearl-making mollusc.
Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and the South Pacific (above photo), stated in the media briefing on 17 January, “Throughout this year, Thailand has an important role as the ASEAN Chairman. Under the theme of ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’, Thailand will seek to develop an ASEAN community, which is people-centred, leaves no one behind, and looks to the future.
“Thailand is now working intensively to promote its emerging tourism destinations in a way that better balances both seasonality and distribution. The goal is to achieve a more even distribution of visitors between urban and rural areas, as well in the months of travel. We also want to encourage more travel during weekdays to reduce pressure on the weekends.”
Mr. Chattan said that as TAT is well-aware of the over-tourism challenge, it has carefully selected these destinations with due consideration both in terms of tourism demand as well as accessibility, adequate availability of accommodation, readiness of the local communities, and marketable opportunities; all of which are vital for promotion in the international markets.
According to the preliminary figures, in 2018, Thailand welcomed around 38 million international visitors, up by 6.8 percent and generated 2 trillion Baht, up by 9.7 percent to the country.
The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) is an annual tourism event first held in 1981 in Malaysia. Thailand has hosted the ATF six times — 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2008 and 2018.