As part of the national tourism development strategy to divert visitor arrivals into the provinces, the Tourism Authority of Thailand…
As part of the national tourism development strategy to divert visitor arrivals into the provinces, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) organised the Chiang Mai and North Travel Show between November 29 – December 2, 2002 in Chiang Mai.
Jointly organised by the TAT’s Northern offices and tourism-related public and private agencies, the travel show was designed to promote new tourism products and activities of Chiang Mai, known as the ‘Rose of the North’, and the entire North Thailand region.
The event was attended by about 155 exhibitors representing hotels and resorts, tour operators, airlines, car rental companies, restaurants, cooking institutes, entertainment complexes, amusement parks, golf courses, health and spa facilities, and souvenir shops. Over 180 international travel agents from 22 markets were invited as buyers. These markets included the US, Europe, Oceania, Asia and Greater Mekong Subregion. About 20 media representatives from Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and Korea, Romania and Yugoslavia were also invited.
The show was officially launched at a dinner reception on November 29 chaired by Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra. Minister of Tourism and Sports H.E. Mr. Sontaya Kunplome also attended.
In 2001, Chiang Mai welcomed about 3.4 million visitors. Of these, 1.5 million were foreigners, an increase of 12.8% over 2000. Domestic Thai visitors stayed an average of 1.2 days while foreigners stayed 2.87 days. This generated a total of 37 billion baht in foreign exchange revenue.
The top-ten visitor-generating markets for Chiang Mai are the US, the UK, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, Singapore, the Netherlands, Canada and Switzerland. Emerging and fast-growing markets include Korea, Malaysia and the Middle East, South Asia and the Greater Mekong Subregion countries.
According to travel consumer surveys, the most popular products and services among visitors to the North are golf, soft adventure and spa. Most visitors to Chiang Mai are repeaters and independent (non-group) travellers.
Visitors from Canada, Russia and Scandinavia prefer to participate in tour programmes related to nature and environment. Those from the UK enjoy the entertainment while Japanese visitors love shopping.
During the show, buyers and sellers conducted a business tabletop sales promotion event, which was also later opened to the general public to allow Thais to buy specially discounted tourism packages to help promote domestic tourism.
Thai tour operators offered four complimentary tour programmes for the buyers and media to showcase new tours covering:
Lanna lifestyle – Golf and spa
Doi Inthanon National Park nature trail, a winner of the Thailand Tourism Award, and Elephants at work and botanical garden.
TAT Governor Mrs. Juthamas Siriwan commented, Chiang Mai and the northern provinces are gaining popularity, and will do even better in the future as the Thai government develops Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai as northern aviation hubs and additional linkages open up with the Mekong subregion.
The show was also designed to promote public and private partnerships in quality tourism promotion and development, position the northern region as a world-class destination and encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more in Thailand, she added.
The seminar Northern Tourism Seminar was held on December 2, 2002 attended by representatives of government and tourism-related private agencies including local administration offices, Chiang Mai Municipality, Chiang Mai Travel Agents Association, Thai Hotels Association (Northern Chapter), and Chiang Mai Tour Guides Association.
The seminar allowed an exchange of views and suggestions on new tourism development strategies to promote North Thailand. In 2001, the occupancy rate of hotels and resorts in Chiang Mai was around 44-45% on a total of about 14,000 rooms. It is expected that these marketing efforts will help boost the occupancy rate to 55% in 2003.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.