ATF buyers remain bullish on Thailand for 2018

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Chiang Mai, 25 January, 2018 – Buyers attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2018 in Chiang Mai predicted another strong year for Thailand as demand continues to grow across a wide demographic from boomers to millennials.

ATF2018 - Buyers Interview - Anthony Hill

Mr. Anthony Hill (above), Founder of Adventure Travel in Australia, said demand for Thailand was expected to remain strong during 2018, especially for Phuket and surrounding provinces.

“Our focus is on boutique and luxury experiences for travellers between 35 to 55, who are looking for a few days of beach combined with a bit of adventure like jungle trips.”

In addition to Phuket, the surrounding nature and beach locations, such as, Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Surat Thani are the company’s most popular destinations. The company is also seeing increased interest from millennials in the 18 to 24 year age group who are mainly interested in island hopping around southern Thailand.

Mr. Hill thought that holding ATF 2018 in Chiang Mai was an inspired choice. “It’s great to get outside of the capital. Holding ATF in Chiang Mai gives you new ideas and it is good to be in a more relaxed atmosphere to discuss business.”

ATF2018 - Buyers Interview - Christian Stoeckli

Mr. Christian Stoeckli (above), Chief Contracting Officer of Meeting Point Asia, also agreed that demand for Thailand was very strong in 2018 after a challenging year in 2017.

“It is very positive for us out of German speaking markets in Austria, Switzerland and Germany with new business coming from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

“Germany is not growing much in terms of new business but is strong for repeat clients who are on their sixth or seventh visit. That’s why Thailand is our second largest long haul outbound market worldwide after America.”

Millennials are a fast-growing market segment attracted by Thailand’s designer hotels, rooftop bars, hospitality, culture and what Mr. Stoeckli described as “the best food in the world.”

He also said holding ATF 2018 in Chiang Mai was a welcomed change for international buyers.

“It’s good for buyers to get out of Bangkok and visit destinations that they might not visit as often. Chiang Mai has a lot of hotels and easy access so overall ATF 2018 has been very well organised as always.”