1 April 2013: Tourism Authority of Thailand says buyers eligible to be hosted at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2013, 5 to 7 June, will have been vetted and endorsed by Thailand’s leading tourism associations.

Supervising the event, a TAT’s American Market Division official told TTR Weekly that the buyer selection process would be based on the potential the travel company has to deliver tourists to the country. But they will also have to convince the hotel and travel agency associations that they a worthwhile track record.

“Every year the authority seeks to mix new buyers alongside recognised international and local operators who have a measurable track record. TTM is our single B2B business event that showcases Thailand.”

All trade show organisers face criticism from hotels and travel agencies on the selection process regardless of the event’s track record or success rating.

TTM is no exception and the past TAT has needed to shake the mix to ensure there is fair share of new buyers alongside the big traditional suppliers.

To cut criticism it has also recruited the Association of Thai Travel Agent; Thai Hotels Association; Thailand Incentive and Convention Association; Thai Ecotourism and Adventure travel Association; and Tourism Council of Thailand to make recommendations and act as a sounding board to check buyer credentials.

Association of Thai Travel Agents acting president, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, confirmed that TAT sends the list of buyers asking the association for comments to guarantee buyers who are hosted are of the right quality.

“We consider a company’s marketing strategy, target niches, number of clients, new products and related subjects which can help to screen the potential buyers.”

He added: “The five associations then consider and give more points for the tourism operators in markets that we really need to promote or are linked to important niches that we need to expand.”

So far, there are 156 first-time buyers. They include participants from Belarus, Laos, Poland, and Taiwan.

Hosted buyers will need to pay a registration fee of US$300 (Bt9,600) per delegate, while non-hosted buyers (who pay for their own transport and accommodation) and a registration fee of US$200 (Bt6,400) per person.

TAT will showcase niche-market products — ecotourism, golf, health and wellness, and weddings and honeymoons — during the pre- and post-tours.