The Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya, Thailand was decked in blue and white, prepped for TTM+ 2019. This year, the Travel Trade Mart was showcasing the ‘New Shades of Emerging Destinations’ coupled with ideas for responsible and sustainable tourism. The evidence of it was all around us, attendees were even requested to bring in their tumblers and cloth bags.
At the media briefing led by Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for Marketing & Communications, TAT, the agenda for TTM+ plus was revealed. For Thailand Tourism, it is all about branching out, to take the tourists clogged in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai and distribute them in smaller, newer destinations. Not only does this strategy introduce upcoming destinations and creates more jobs in the industry, but also counters the problem of over-tourism in the bigger cities of Thailand.
Destinations like Buri Ram, Chiang Rai, Chai Not, Ranong and Yala should be on every tourist’s bucket list now. The tourism department proposes 55 of these emerging destinations based on 22 primary ones. And while some of them are already popular on their own, the department’s new strategy of linking popular destinations to nearby smaller, but equally picturesque towns is quite interesting. From Pattaya, tourists may drive down to Chanthaburi or Trat for some beautiful beaches.
They also wish to bring in newer destinations like the Northeastern Buri Ram with its Khmer heritage and to combine popular destinations like Sukhothai and Phitsanulok for their common history and access to historical sites. Simply put, for travellers like us, it means exploring more areas and discovering hidden gems.
Thailand is especially keen on attracting more Indians. We already make for a great market, with over 300 Indian weddings happening each year. India is ranked sixth when it comes to tourists visiting the country. Now, divided into groups like families, solo travellers and honeymooners, the challenge is to balance the growth of tourism while putting up more for offer. For those who seek an off-the-beaten-path vacation, perhaps striking out Thailand would be a premature decision. Natural beauty, rich culture and heritage, and delicious cuisine, Thailand wishes to offer the whole package to each tourist.
TTM+ also conducted several talks on sustainable tourism, cuisine, micro-tourism and other travel trends.