Thailand brings travel mart to Phang Nga for the first time

The Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) 2024 began at the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa in Phang Nga today, marking the event’s debut in the southern province. This 21st edition aims to showcase Phang Nga’s potential as a high-value tourism destination.

TTM+ 2024 will run from today (June 5) to June 7, and will unite 425 buyers from 50 countries and 430 Thai sellers.

TAT governor, executives and event sponsors at the opening ceremony of TTM+ 2024

“This is a first for us and Phang Nga; we’ve never held an event of this scale here before,” said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor for international marketing Asia and South Pacific at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Regarded as Thailand’s most important B2B travel event by the TAT, the event is expected to provide a platform for 15,000 business appointments between buyers and sellers and generate three billion baht (US$81) for Thailand’s tourism industry – 30 million baht of which TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said will likely be distributed back to local communities.

Various Thai provinces enter bids to host the travel mart for each year.
Na Ayudhya said that in this case, Phang Nga was chosen for its robust logistics, infrastructure, and service support.

The province aligns with the TAT’s focus on high-value tourism, appealing to high-end travellers with its national parks, fishing villages, caves, rafting adventures, beaches and a well-developed dining scene – including 12 Michelin-recommended and Bib Gourmand locations for 2024.

“This year is the first year (post-lockdown) that everything is back to normal, with no travel restrictions whatsoever. This has led to a 13.64 per cent increase in buyer participation year-on-year. Additionally, nearly half (44.5%) are first-timers, indicating a healthy mix of returning and new buyers,” shared Na Ayudhya.

He added that this year’s event has seen a strong turnout from the Middle East at 107 attendees, of which 12 are from Saudi Arabia, which supports the TAT’s plans to open its first office there next year.

Sellers from across Thailand participated, with the south (247), central (119), and east (41) leading the pack.

Na Ayudhya mentioned the event’s annual rotation to different provinces to showcase various regions, announcing that next year’s TTM+ will be held in Chiang Mai, giving the north a chance to shine.

Despite Khao Lak being the worst-hit area of the Andaman coast 20 years ago during the 2004 tsunami, it has made a strong recovery. “The province is very ready. If anything, the event should have come here sooner,” Na Ayudhya stated.

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