Preparations have begun
in earnest for the PATA Travel Mart 2004 to be held in Bangkok in September 2004, the third major event of the Pacific Asia Travel
Association to be held in Thailand next year.
The PATA Mart, one of the most important trade events on the
regional calendar, has been slotted for September 22-24, 2004. Alongside, PATA will
convene its Board of Directors meeting which brings together some of the
region’s most senior executives.
The third PATA event is the Ninth Mekong Tourism Forum to be held in
the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai between March 26-28, 2004.
The mart in Bangkok will be the first since PATA decided to return to
the system of rotating the mart around Asia-Pacific cities after six years in
TAT Deputy Governor for International Markets, Mrs. Phornsiri
Manoharn, said. “Thailand is very honoured to have been chosen as
the venue for the first mart under the rotation system. We will work closely with PATA to ensure
that it attracts a high attendance and is a success.”
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will also amalgamate its
annual Thailand Travel Mart (TTM) into the PATA mart in order to avoid any
duplication. However, all efforts will be made to ensure that the small and
medium sized companies which exhibit at the TTM have an opportunity to make contact with buyers attending the PATA mart.
Phornsiri, who also represents the TAT on the PATA Board, said “There
are clear synergies between the two marts, especially in terms of attracting a
higher seller content from the Greater Mekong Subregion countries which are
becoming increasingly popular on the global tourism circuit. This will clearly
attract more buyers, too,” she said.
The successful Thai participation in the PATA Mart 2003 in Singapore
had paved the way for a high level of interest in attending the 2004 event. A total of
25 seller companies participated in the mart, the fourth largest contingent. The
presence was further highlighted by a media conference and a well-attended
Thai Night dinner party that gained Thailand valuable publicity. A special
booth was also given to the Agency for Co-ordination of Mekong Tourism Activities
“With Bangkok becoming increasingly the main gateway hub to the
Mekong countries, buyers will find a huge number of products and services well worth
including in their future packages.
“Not only are many of these countries granting visa-free or visa-on-arrival
access, they are also being increasingly linked up by roads, highways, airports and seaports which are providing vital
transportation linkages,” she said.
The PATA Mart 2004 will be held at the Queen Sirikit Convention
Centre which by September will also be linked by Bangkok’s newest mode of transportation,
the subway mass transit system which will have a station right at the doorstep
of the convention centre.
The PATA events will play a major role TAT’s objective of making
Thailand the ‘Tourism Capital of Asia’ by 2006.” It is estimated that 11
million arrivals will travel to the country next year, with an increasing
focus on niche-markets like the MICE business, high-income earners, golf, wellness and spa, family,
diving, youth and honeymooners. Other target groups are senior citizens,
ladies, eco and soft adventure, medical tourism, long stay visitors, film-makers