On The Road In Chiang Mai

A conference theme of “Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity” is providing content direction to the 2018 ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF), which started this week in Chiang Mai, Thailand, reports western Canada editor Ted Davis from the show.

It kicked off with a lavish opening ceremony and banquet on the sprawling grounds of the Royal Park Rajapruek, complete with a procession of sedan chairs shouldered by bearers, in a tribute to Thai traditions. It followed the tourism ministers from the 10 member nations of ASEAN, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

The evening warmth at the outdoor setting was ideal for the hundreds of invited delegates, who dined on a variety of Thai dishes under the stars, next to the mountains that border Chiang Mai.

Now underway at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre is the TRAVEX trade show, where 275 product seller organizations (in 323 booth locations) from the 10 countries are meeting with 240 product buyers from around the world.

Thailand has the highest number of seller participants with 146 booths from 117 companies, followed by Singapore with 41 booths, Malaysia with 40 booths, Indonesia with 31 booths, etc.

Of the buyers attending ATF 2018, nearly 26% come from the ASEAN region, with 47% from the European Union, 16.7% from the Americas and the remaining 10.4% hailing from other Asian countries.

Concurrent with the TRAVEX are media presentations by each of the ASEAN member nations, whose reps are bringing news of tourism plans, achievements and developments from each country.

In the photo:

Thai princesses aboard sedan chairs were part of the procession that kicked off the opening gala ceremonies for the 2018 ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF).