TAT eyes travel mart as showcase for niche tourism

The tourism authority hopes Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2012 (TTM+2012) will be a springboard for promoting the country as a destination for niche markets in the region.

These markets include golfing, weddings and honeymoons, ecotourism, and the medical and wellness market. The Tourism Authority of Thailand believes some travellers prefer tailor-made tourism and want to explore new life experiences in niche markets such as these.

The annual TTM has been held for 13 years as a trading platform for buyers and sellers abroad. This year’s event will be held from June 6-8 at Impact Muang Thong Thani, coinciding with Thailand Tourism Festival 2012 from June 6-10.

Juthaporn Rerngronasa, the TAT’s deputy governor for international marketing for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, said new niche markets would help boost visitor numbers and revenue to secure the local tourism industry. The agency will start promoting them with leisure markets abroad.

The TAT expects 418 buyers from 52 nations to join TTM+2012, which cost Bt35 million. A total of 156 buyers are coming from new potential markets worldwide such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Ukraine and Uruguay. Meanwhile 380 agencies will show off their tourism products and services via 420 booths.

Four niche services will be on offer. There are four golf operators, 11 from the wedding and honeymoon sector, 19 from health and wellness, and five from ecotourism.

“As far as we know so far, the event will see a good response from participants, although [the effect of] financial crises in some countries like Greece remains to be seen,” she said, adding that the TAT would monitor the situation closely.

Currently, Thailand is still seeing a good number of foreign tourist arrivals. Juthaporn said that if there is no resurgence of violent political demonstrations, the country would continue to be a major tourism destination in the region.

From January to April, the number of arrivals rose 7 per cent to 7.3 million year on year. Despite the economic problems in some European countries, that market still grew by 9 per cent.

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