TRAVEL MARTS

Thailand Golf Travel Mart 2019 attracts buyers from around the world

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) organized the fifth Thailand Golf Travel Mart (TGTM) 2019 between August 6 and August 9 in Chiang Mai as part of an ongoing strategy to further develop a very important source of high-spending, long-staying customer segment.

The event has attracted a contingent of 116 top golf tour operators from 24 countries, primarily from China (22), Japan (17), India (9), South Korea (8), Singapore (7). To broaden the exposure of Thailand’s golfing attractions, TAT invited 59 first-time buyers, especially from new markets, such as, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Portugal and Sweden.

Amongst the 97 Thai exhibitors, mainly representatives of Thailand’s stunning golf courses and resorts, 37 are from the Central Region, 23 from the East, 22 from the North, 10 from the South and 5 from the Northeast. They include 39 first-time sellers.

The panel discussion during the event focused on the theme: “Thailand beyond a Premier Golf Destination.” The session featured Tanes Petsuwan, TAT Deputy Governor for Marketing and Communications; Thongchai Jaidee, a renowned Thai golfer, and David Rollo, Vice President, Golf – IMG Events.

The previous four TGTMs was held in Hua Hin, Pattaya, Khao Yai and Phuket, highlighting the geographical and professional diversity of the kingdom’s leading sports tourism sector.

Chiang Mai, the city known as the Rose of the North, is a very important golfing destination with international standard golfing facilities set amidst the backdrop of picturesque natural landscapes, rich history, and culture of the Northern region.

Thailand is among the top destinations in Asia for golf with some 700,000 golfers coming here each year. There are over 300 stunning courses nationwide with comparatively low green fees and high professional standards. The World Golf Travel Agents Association recently named Thailand as the “Best up and coming Destination for Golf Vacations.” Chiang Mai itself was voted The Next Golf Destination of the Year Asia & Australasia 2017 by International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing, Asia and South Pacific, said, “We are very pleased with the great response to this year’s golf travel mart. We have rotated it all around the country ever since its inception in order to maximize exposure of the tremendous diversity of our golf products, especially in the emerging provinces. This year, we are encouraging the invited golfers to try out Lamphun, 20km from Chiang Mai, a small province where investors have developed four breathtaking golf courses with gorgeous scenery.” As with other specialist niche-market travel events, the TGTM will be carefully monitored to ensure that TAT remains abreast of global trends and delivers the right product to the right buyers. Chattan said, “With every passing year, Thailand faces increasing competition for the tourist dollar on the global stage. We are looking forward to networking with the buyers and listening to their feedback on how we can best maximize opportunities for both of us.”

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CONFERENCES & INCENTIVES

India’s mega-meeting infrastructure gets going…at last!

micepoint MICE tourism India

Are we in India ready for holding Monster conventions? The clear answer is a very loud no. India, if one considers the competing destinations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Indonesia, and China have lost more opportunities to bid for Mega Conferences than others purely on the reasons of being infrastructurally challenged. Living in a country the venerable Maha Kumbh where over at least a crore people congregate once every twelve years is considered an event only the gods can play the ultimate event organizer; mere mortals are left to create an infrastructure regime that seems to fall apart at every second turn! An estimated USD 280 Billion of marketspace out there and we don’t seem to have a will to create a half decent Mega Convention Centre out here! All this is about to change with the Government’s putting money where their mouths are to upgrade existing pre-historic venues and commit to a new mega greenfield Convention and Exhibition Centre in Delhi.

The Government of India, in all its sudden burst of enlightenment, have finally harped upon creating the country’s largest Exhibition and Conference showcase. With a primetime investment of USD 4 Billion, the ‘India International Convention & Exhibition Centre (IICC)’, occupying an area about half the size of Bangalore’s Lal Bagh. The venue is expected to play host to marquis events such as the G-20 Summit. GoI’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion is implementing the project and will be operated by South Korea’s Korea International Exhibition Centre (KINTEX) and eSANG Networks. Thankfully, with the Government deciding on partners such as L&T and Korea’s KINTEX to execute and operate the venue, this will be the gamechanger and catapult India into the world of Mega 20,000 plus delegate conferences. The venue is expected to have a massive exhibition space of 200,000 Square Metre and a 60,000 Square Metre in meetings and conventions space. The venue will also include 3,500 hotel rooms for delegates. Also, the multi-purpose arena in the venue will have a seating capacity of around 20,000 people. The complex will have a 30,000-vehicle car parking.

The Indian Convention & Exhibition Industry’s grand old lady ‘Pragati Maidan’ is poised to get a make-over and being redeveloped into a world-class Integrated Exhibition Cum Convention Centre (IECC) at a cost of Rs. 2254 Crores and the first phase expected to open by May 2019. The project will be updated to 1.19 lakh square meters of exhibition space against the present 65,000 and will get a Convention Centre for 7,000 people. The venue will also include a hotel complex to be built on a 3.7-acre plot within. Presently run by the ‘India Trade Promotion Organization’ which wear any hats such as an Exhibition Organizer, a trade body and venue manager all rolled into one. Hopefully, this will change its domain as the multiple ‘conflict of interest’ purporter! Changing times sure needs a more professional and expert set-up, than the current management practice who are living ‘sublime nirvana’ since the early 1970s.

India as a host and a probably the world’s most diverse destination backed with a growing economic might will ensure business opportunities seldom seen in the region. The past hubris against mega projects especially in aid of the tourism industry has died down. Convention Centres such as this will fuel a complete eco-system that generations will thank.

Was indeed surprised to note the Government’s initiative to use the building of Convention centers across 21 African Nations as to further the growing diplomatic connect. Who would have thought about a few years back, that India would actually recognize the Convention Centre industry as a sunrise industry!

Asia accounts for a mere 14.3% of the Meetings market in the world and, and India’s share accounts for just 4.9%. In comparison, China accounts for 68% of the Asian share in MICE business and trails only the US in the market globally. In terms of Meeting infrastructure, China has 92 purpose-built exhibition sites spread over three million square meters. India has just 12 exhibition venues that occupy barely 2.6 lakhs Square Metre of space. India is 40% of China in terms of the size of the economy, but in the exhibition’s infrastructure sphere, we are only 9 percent of what China does. Germany on the other extreme has over three million square meters of exhibition space, which considering India’s exhibition industry, is on a different planet altogether!

With longer gestation periods, no Convention Centres make money on the quick run. It is the City Municipal Corporation, to ensure, we create world-class convention facilities. With increased footfalls, increased tax revenues and adding a new employment engine, the city eventually benefits more! The Indian industry, irrespective their sectors, and verticals need quality meeting infrastructure. The current ‘Make in India’ mania is useless if we do not have avenues to display and exhibit to a global audience. Any place, which houses an airport should have a minimum 30,000 square feet of multi-use Convention Centre as part of the City’s infrastructure.

The advent of International Exhibition companies into India has got the industry tremendous respect and enhanced its professionalism. With the marked increase in the number of stakeholders using the exhibition medium, the industry is only poised to grow! As much it will benefit the allied services such as the hospitality, car rental and travel industry, the industry across various sectors are deemed to be the primary beneficiary.

When the global exhibition and trade-show industry is a USD 65 Billion industry with over 31,000 major events taking place and the Indian space is estimated to be worth at Rs. 65,000 Crores with over 700 shows, how can the Indian travel-industry be far behind! The ‘Indian Convention Promotion Bureau’ states ‘Of a total of 8,294 events tracked, India has a market share of 1.1% (Asia & Middle East has 19.5% share) with an estimated size of the MICE industry in India around Rs 4,000 – 5,500 crores. Still a minuscule part of a global market space of over USD 65 Billion!

Even cities like Mumbai and Delhi have no world-class event facilities. Making do with present Event infrastructure and current permissions and license regime required to organize trade-fairs is time-consuming and a sure dampener. The industry should demand a single window agency as procedures are getting more tedious than ever before. Venues should assist in permissions and here the efforts of Chennai Trade Centre are adulatory!

Being part of the Travel Event industry, it is quite mandatory for us to be at various events across the world. The quality of the event infrastructure had always been a point of envy. Most International travel events across the world also enjoy tremendous patronage from the National Tourist Organization and Government bodies, which they see as a booster to their economy and the sure wind beneath their wings!

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EVENTS

PATA Travel Mart to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will organise PATA Travel Mart 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan next year.

The event will be hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kazakh Tourism National Company JSC, the key organization in the tourism industry effectively promoting the tourist brand of Kazakhstan and contributing to attracting investments to the industry.

“We are excited to hold the first-ever PATA event in Central Asia in the Republic of Kazakhstan. As the destination stands at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, it is the perfect venue to organize the Association’s signature travel trade exhibition in a uniquely transformational city that blends various cultures and heritages of both the East and West,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “We look forward to working with the host in showcasing this truly unique destination.”

Vice Minister of Culture And Sport of The Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Yerlan Kozhagapanov, said, “We are honored to be the bid winner and are grateful for the opportunity to host PATA Travel Mart 2019. We are positioning Astana as a MICE hub for Central Asia and looking forward to welcoming PATA members, hosted buyers and visitors at PATA Travel Mart 2019.”

Kazakhstan is the heart of Eurasia. Located simultaneously in two parts of the world – Europe and Asia, it is at the junction of several of the world’s largest civilizations and borders with China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and the Russian Federation. Due to its key strategic location, it is among the strongest supporters of the Belt and Road Initiative strategy adopted by the Chinese government. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the country received a total of over 7.7 million total visitors in 2017.

Kazakhstan has a unique geography with a rich and diverse landscape, which includes numerous lakes, lowlands, deserts and valleys framed by mountains in the east and southeast. Due to the large territory and variety of natural conditions, there are over 6,000 species of plants, 172 species of mammals, 500 species of birds, 52 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians, and 150 species of fish.

The country’s new capital, Astana, has become a showpiece for 21st-century Kazakhstan, with a fantastical skyline marked by landmark buildings designed by leading international architects in a variety of Asia, Western, Soviet and futuristic styles.

Astana, also known as the ‘Singapore of the steppe’, is a growing city with a young, forward-looking vibe, where Kazakhstan’s ambitious and talented youth are increasingly drawn. This ever-growing city – host to the Expo 2017 world fair – offers a glimpse into a town of tomorrow.

Special discounts are available for sellers located within Central Asia, while early bird discounts are available for those registering before December 31, 2018.

For more information or to register for PATA Travel Mart, please visit www.PATA.org/PTM or email PTM@PATA.org.

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