The recently concluded PATA Destination Marketing Forum 2018 (PDMF 2018) co-organized by N.C.C. International Event (NCCIE), was a huge success that saw nearly 300 attendees from 25-countries. It was held in Khon Kaen between the 28-30 November in a bid to promote Khon Kaen province as the new MICE destination within the ASEAN region. The main hosts were Khon Kaen Province, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA.)
The delegates were tour operators and travel agents, as well as representatives from national tourism organisations and educational institutions. NCCIE put together a spectacular event and left no stone unturned to ensure that the delegates got to experience the infrastructure as well as local culture of Khon Kaen. Dr. Somsak Changtragul, governor of Khon Kaen province, was quoted as having said that it was an honour to host such an international forum and moreover, it also confirmed Khon Kaen’s readiness to be the new MICE venue for Thailand. “Attractions in Khon Kaen have been developed with MICE activities in mind and we have designed tourism activities that highlight the province’s unique appeal for both MICE participants as well as general tourists. International events and their arrivals have generated increasingly higher tourism income for Khon Kaen and our goal is to boost the number of overnight visitors to more than five million from the present 3.8 million a year,” he said.
Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak, Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Americas), TAT, said: “We are pleased to have supported the PDMF 2018 and created a good opportunity for Khon Kaen to become a major MICE city and tourism destination in Thailand. Moreover, this event also allowed us opportunities to promote community-based tourism in Khon Kaen. TAT is now encouraging foreigners to indulge in the various aspects of ‘Thainess’ from a new perspective.”
Mrs. Supawan Teerarat, Senior Vice President, Strategic and Business Development, TCEB, said that Khon Kaen was the transportation hub for the north-east. Furthermore, the Khon Kaen International Convention and Exhibition Center (the third largest in Thailand,) well-equipped hotels and also the fact that new-generation business entrepreneurs were driving urban development in the region, qualified Khon Kaen as a great MICE city in Thailand. “We hope to generate income for local communities on a sustainable basis, which in turn will drive Thailand’s macro economy,” she added.
Dr. Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer, PATA, said that the venues chosen for the PDMF were usually hidden gems and that that the event had previously too introduced several new destinations for tourists. “Wherever a PDMF event is held, it spurs community economy because it beckons travelers from all over the world,” he stated.