Thailand will host the 37th Asean Tourism Forum (ATF 2018) at the Chiang Mai Exhibition and Convention Centre from January 22 to 26 on the theme “Asean-Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity”.
The event, the largest travel trade event of the Asean region, is rotated annually among the 10 Asean countries. Thailand is hosting the event for the sixth time, but on this occasion has relocated it to Chiang Mai as part of the policy to promote secondary destinations, create more jobs in the rural areas, ensure a better distribution of tourism earnings and highlight Thailand’s linkages with the Greater Mekong Sub-region countries.
“This year, we are proud to mark the first ATF after commemorating the 50th anniversary of Asean in 2017. We are delighted to have participated strongly in the “Visit Asean@50” campaign with a series of carefully selected Thai products, tour packages and offers to bring memorable travel experiences," said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The ATF is the only annual opportunity for both the public and private sectors of the Asean travel and tourism industry to get together and discuss issues and trends facing the Asean tourism industry.
The week-long event includes meetings of the Asean Tourism Ministers and national tourism organisations, private sector groupings representing Asean hotels, restaurants, travel agents, tour operators and airlines and bilateral meetings with dialogue partners including Russia, China, Japan, India and South Korea. This year, a ministerial meeting with China will also be held for the first time.
Alongside the travel trade show, known as Travex, the individual NTOs will also give detailed media briefings. Additional briefings are scheduled this year by King Power and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.
This year, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau will host an Asean Mice Conference and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports will also host an Asean Gastronomy Conference. PATA will host a Destination Marketing Forum 2018 and the UNWTO will launch an Open Thailand Tourism Story Book.
Sellers are well represented with 323 booths for 275 organisations. Thailand has the highest number of participants with 146 booths from 117 organisations and companies inclusive of the Thai pavilion. Singapore has 41 booths, Malaysia 40 and Indonesia 31.