Chiang Rai will host the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart (AT&RTCM) 2016, February 17-19, the first Asia-Pacific travel conference to be held in this Far North tourist destination.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is supporting the landmark event to illustrate the readiness of secondary destinations to welcome international tourism.
Previously held in Nepal and Bhutan, this year’s AT&RTCM will position Chiang Rai as an emerging destination for both soft adventure and community-based tourism.
Highlighting the theme of “Creating Experiences, Sharing Opportunities,” the three-day event will bring together travel executives who promote adventure and sustainable travel options. Tourism experts, many of them architects of successful adventure and community-based tourism projects in Asia, will complete a line-up of 20 speakers from 10 nations.
Two representatives of the TAT will speak at the event: Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Executive Director – Advertising and Public Relations Department, who will speak on Sharing Opportunities: Building Back Better after a Disaster, and Mr. Ben Fleming, Marketing Manager, TAT LA Office, who will talk on Sharing Opportunities: How to Design Effective Co-operative Marketing Campaigns.
Other topics featured in the programme include: ‘Creating Experiences that Challenge, Delight and Inspire’; ‘Best Practices in Responsible Tourism from the ASEAN Region’; The Inbound Marketing Playbook; ‘The New Adventure Market: Understanding the Indian and Chinese Adventure Traveller’, and ‘Crossroads: Adventure and Responsible Travel Off the Beaten Path’.
The Conference and Mart will be held at the Dusit Island Resort on the banks of the Mae Kok River that flows through the heart of Chiang Rai city.
Representing more 1,000 companies and organisations in 90 countries, US-based Adventure Travel Trade Association President, Shannon Stowell, will deliver the keynote address at the opening session.
Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for International Marketing Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas said: “This landmark event will help to propel Thailand to the forefront of environmental protection and sustainability within the tourism industry in the region.”
She noted that the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom was in its “own right a wonderful destination in the heart of the Golden Triangle region” where the Thai border meets with those of Myanmar and Lao PDR.
Apart from its soft adventure options, Chiang Rai is also a hub for the country’s renowned Royal Projects that focus on improving the quality of life for Thailand’s ethnic minorities and hill tribe villagers.
These programmes, many of them focusing on reforestation, are benefitting local communities through the development of cool-climate crops and fruits, organic farming and market garden produce.
“The choice of the destination reflects the growing importance of dispersing tourists to emerging destinations,” PATA CEO Mario Hardy said. “The challenge is to balance tourism growth with sustainable development. This is one of many crucial issues that we will be discussing at the Mart.”
He noted that the UNWTO Global Report on Adventure Tourism estimates the Adventure Travel Market is now worth USD263 billion globally.
“Adventure travel is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors with Asian travellers who are looking to expand their horizons by choosing an adventure travel holiday.”
To tap that revenue potential the B2B mart component, Friday 19 February, will bring together 27 individual organisations from 10 countries: Brunei, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Republic of Palau, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
They will conduct appointment sessions with 33 international travel buyers from 20 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Singapore the Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Thailand.
Delegates will also be able to avail of a range of tours and excursions covering Wat Rong Khun–Singha Park, Mae Kok River Boat Trip-Elephant Riding, Hill Tribe Museum (The Lorcha Akha villages_Thailand Tourism Award), Cycling Tour, Doi Tung Coffee Factory, Hill Tribe Day Trek and Elephant Camp.