The annual Thai Travel Mart + has just taken place in the kingdom’s capital city, Bangkok – where it was business as usual at this major tourism event.
This year’s theme, ‘Experience with Us’, reflects the fact that leisure travel is shifting away from just recreational holidays to more experiential and fulfilling activities. The Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thawatchai Arunyik, said: “Today’s travellers want to ‘experience’ something new, learn something, and satisfy a deeper need for participation, creativity, community, and idealism. That is why we launched ‘Thainess’, our way of life as embodied in our culture, art, food and way of life.”
Four experiential Thainess products are being presented for the first time in one area: 1) Ecotourism, 2) Wedding and Honeymoon, 3) Health and Wellness, and 4) Experience Thainess products such as Thai boxing and Thai cooking classes.
The well-attended event had 403 sellers and more than 314 buyers from 45 countries who adopted a business as usual attitude, which was evident by the large number of face-to-face meetings taking place.
Actual total visitor arrivals for the first five months of this year were 10.3 million, with numbers from Ireland at 20,817, showing an 11.4 % increase to the end of April.
Thawatchai Arunyik, said: “We are very pleased that so many buyers and sellers are still assured to attend the event. This is a major vote of confidence in Thailand, the quality of our tourism products and services, and the determination of the travel trade to go on with business as usual.”
In Bangkok the curfew is now from midnight to 4.00am and life in the city has resumed its normal busy and cosmopolitan life. In fact, but for a few unarmed troops dotted at points around the city, a visitor would not know that anything had changed. There is a feeling that stability has been restored as a result of the military intervention, which has been endorsed by His Majesty the King.