The departure of Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) from the usual convention hall setting in its 2018 edition took place last week to positive reception from show attendees, with sellers and buyers alike lauding the table-top format in a marina venue a refreshing and successful change.
Organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), TTM+ this year took place at Pattaya’s Ocean Marina Yacht Club in a giant outdoor marquee equipped with air-conditioning. Instead of individual booth spaces, sellers were allocated table-top rentals – comprising a table and three chairs each – which was grouped in pairs and arranged in rows of 12 x 14 across the marquee venue.
The table-top format has garnered a nod of approval from delegates that TTG Asia spoke to at TTM+.
Go Vacation Thailand’s director of business development Tobias Fischer admitted he had initial reservations about the show format and the tight rental space, but when the show got underway his scepticism gave way to approval. “We have to applaud TAT for this fresh idea. I would certainly like more tradeshows to take on this format,” he commented.
Franco Sessini, UK representative for Aksara Collection found the show’s table-top style to be “more productive”, as the open concept allows attendees to see across the entire space at one glance and in turn foster interactions.
“This format is very democratic, as everyone has the same amount of space. Everyone walks the floor, and it’s not easy (for sellers) to be lazy with this format,” he quipped.
As well, the atmosphere at TTM+ this year was decidedly more casual, TTG Asia observed, with many delegates taking the opportunity to trade business attire for resort wear following ‘dress-down’ recommendations from TAT.
The backdrop of sun, sea and yachts at the marina setting made the show a “relaxing” and “fun” affair for La Flora Resorts’ assistant business development director’s Prapaporn Osiri. “We are in the tourism business so tradeshows should be fun like this,” she said.
TAT also made a significant push for its annual tradeshow to be greener this year, reflecting the rising wave of sustainability awareness the travel industry is currently seeing.
“For a country that earns revenue from 35 million tourists, we want to focus on sustainability – and this is the direction we want to take for TTM+ too,” said Tanes Petsuwan, TAT’s deputy governor for marketing communications, when he addressed the media on Wednesday.
Each delegate was given a reusable water tumbler to encourage lesser use of plastic bottles and straws. The event directory was available only in digital format, and sellers were encouraged to go paperless and conduct business using laptops and tablets.
When asked if TTM+2019 would be held in similar format or remain at Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Tanes shared that the show would be hosted in Pattaya for another year but the venue was unconfirmed at press time.