To broaden the scope of the annual B2B event, Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2013, Tourism Authoirty of Thailand will add two new highligh events.

One involves the substantial participation of the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration and the other introduces debates at a so-called Travel Forum.

TAT hopes the additional festures will help expand the quality of participation in Thailand’s largest business to business event, and also raise the level of intellectual discussion.

According to a  TAT release, the Yunnan Provincial Tourism Administration has a registered a team of 26 delegates to participate at TTM+.

“This is a very important step forward as the TTM+ is designed to showcase the exciting tourism products of the entire Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), which includes Yunnan province of China, Myanmar, Laos PDR, Vietnam, and Cambodia,” the TAT press release explained.

Professor Greg Richards

Yunnan is located in the lower southwest of China and shares a long border with Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

Yunnan’s 16 prefectures and municipalities have a population of 44 million, including 25 minority groups. Its capital is Kunming.

However, the delegation is interested in tapping Bangkok’s gateway status and the tour operators who attend the show to increase tourism to the Chinese province.

In recent years, it developed infrastructure and transport networks. Kunming Changshui International Airport is now the fifth largest airport in China, with connections to 10 cities within Yunnan province, 60 cities within China and 14 international cities, such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Seoul, Yangon, Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Mandalay and Dhaka.

Frank Oostdam

Plans to develop road and rail links, including the Asian Highway and the Trans Asian Railway, will also enhance connectivity with Bangkok, Lashio (Myanmar) and Hanoi (Vietnam) once they materialise. River navigation along the Mekong is also being improve, although there remains challenges as more dams are planned by China on the river’s upper reaches.

On 28 April 2012, TAT and China (Yunnan) signed a memorandum of understanding on promoting two-way tourism between the two countries. This is the first practical outcome of that agreement.

The debate content will target buyers and sellers with a topic of “Creative Travel” and “DIY Tourism.”

The first keynote session will be “Changing destination perceptions through creative travel” by Professor Greg Richards, followed by a debate on the topic: “Bangkok needs repositioning through creative tourism techniques and implementation.”

Based in Barcelona, Prof Richards is Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Tilburg and Professor of Events at Breda University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands.

The second keynote session will cover the topic “DIY in tourism: Dynamic Packaging, the pros and the cons” by Frank Oostdam, followed by a debate on the topic: “dynamic packaging will become the tourist’s preferred option when buying holidays”.

Frank Oostdam is the chairman of the ANVR, the Dutch Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents, which has a membership of 220 tour operators and 1400 retail  travel agents in the Netherlands.

Dynamic Packaging, a method used to package holiday bookings to enable consumers to build their own travel content ( flights, accommodation, and car rental) instead of purchasing a pre-defined package through a travel agent. So far, the concept has not got off the ground as there are no booking platforms that provide an easy solution to multiple destination packages rather than point-to-point. But solutions are being worked on.

TTM+ 2013 is being held, 5 to 7 June, at Bangkok’s IMPACT Muang Thong Thani Exhibition Centre