As Thailand readies to host the 37th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2018) in Chiang Mai from January 22 to 26 under the theme of ‘Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity’, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has unveiled programme activities along with a list of pre- and post-event tours covering local and neighbouring destinations.
Notable activities for this year’s show include the ASEAN MICE Conference hosted by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, and the ASEAN Gastronomy Conference by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Additionally, a ministerial meeting with China will be held as part of ATF for the first time.
PATA will also host a Destination Marketing Forum 2018, while UNWTO will launch the Open Thailand Tourism Story Book.
As well, the Travex will see 323 booths for 275 organisations, with Thailand making up the biggest seller contingent with 146 booths from 117 organisations, plus 41 booths from Singapore, 40 booths from Malaysia and 31 booths from Indonesia.
ATF 2018 is expected to welcome 240 buyers (hosted 205, non-hosted 35) with 25.8 per cent from around the ASEAN region; 47.1 per cent from the EU; 16.7 per cent from the Americas and the remaining 10.4 per cent from other Asian countries.
Meanwhile, local tours will be conducted on the afternoon of January 23, departing from official ATF hotels. Offered free of charge on a first-come-first-served basis, the six routes consist of nature trails, ‘Follow the King’s Footsteps’ at the Royal Agricultural Station Inthanon and Hmong farmers’ market as well as ‘Earth Experience’ at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garde.
The remaining four tours are the ‘Art of Thai Ways’ at Ban Celadon, ‘Home Cooking Experience’, ‘Local Recipe Walking Journey’ and ‘The Middle Way in Buddhism’.
Tours that cover neighbouring destinations will run after the show (January 27-29). The 3D2N options are priced at US$300, and include ‘Embrace the Heart of Andaman Blue Sea’ route (Phuket – Phang Nga – Ranong) and ‘The Horizon Heritage’ tour which links Thailand’s Northeastern provinces of Udon Thani and Nong Khai with Vientiane in Laos.
Attendees can also choose from three-night options priced at US$500 – ‘The Memorable Antique Cultures’ that connects Chiang Rai with Myanmar’s Kengtung and the ‘Ancient of the East’ that combines Thailand’s Eastern province of Chanthaburi and Prachin Buri with Cambodia’s Siem Reap.