The Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) returned for its eighth edition, with an action-packed agenda focusing on the mega-projects that are currently transforming the tourism landscape in Bangkok and beyond.
Running under the theme “Managing Tourism – Ensuring Great Experiences and Sustainable Outcomes,” Thailand’s largest annual hospitality event secured a record audience of 850 tourism and hospitality industry leaders at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok for a full afternoon of interactive and informative on-stage sessions.
The keynote speaker was Ms. Supaluck Umpujh, Chairwoman of The Mall Group Co., Ltd, who discussed the “Importance of Retail, Entertainment & Hospitality – Better Tourism Experiences” alongside Charles Blocker, CEO of IC Partners. In her role as Chairwoman of one of Thailand’s largest retail operators, Miss Supaluck oversees some of the Kingdom’s biggest attractions including The Emporium, EmQuartier, Siam Paragon and The Mall in Bangkok.
The Mall Group also recently announced a landmark strategic partnership with US-based AEG Worldwide, the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company, that will include multi-billion-baht investments in two world-class arenas – “EM Live and BANGKOK ARENA”.
TTF 2019 zeroed in on how Thailand’s tourism sector is getting a massive makeover. With international visitor arrivals continuing to shatter all previous records and Bangkok becoming the world’s most-visited city*, the event examined how the country is developing new infrastructure and facilities to cope with the influx. These include huge integrated tourism projects, vast retail attractions, branded theme parks, urban transport networks, airport rail links and more.
“TTF 2019 comes at a critical crossroads for Thailand’s tourism industry. As growth rates continue to soar, the country needs to evolve and expand its tourism infrastructure to cope with rising demand. TTF 2019 focused on the major new developments currently taking place in the Kingdom, while looking ahead to the future and discussing how Thailand’s tourism industry should be managed to ensure its long-term success,” said Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks and co-organiser of TTF 2019.
“We were delighted to have Khun Supaluck as the keynote speaker of TTF 2019. With The Mall Group, she has transformed the concept of the mall from a retail experience to an integrated tourism, shopping and lifestyle destination. This is reflected by the recent partnership with AEG, which will create world-class experiences and attractions. I am confident that her vision and expertise will provide genuine insights for our audience,” he added.
Khun Supaluck added: “Thailand is considered one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and The Mall Group, as Thailand’s leading retail and entertainment complex developer, has aligned itself with the governmental policy of elevating Thailand as a commercial business hub and a global tourist destination, complete with business districts, tourist attractions and modern entertainment centers.”
Following an opening address by Bill Barnett on the topic of “Managing Tourism – Growth & Sustainability,” other key speakers at TTF 2019 included Robert V.R. Hecker, Managing Director of Horwath HTL and Rahul Mittal, Director of Cistri (Urbus), who addressed the “Essentials of Master Planning;” and Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific, who provided an update on Thailand’s hotel performance and outlook.
David Keen, CEO of QUO, and Stephan Roemer, CEO of Diethelm Travel Group, looked at “Destination Marketing – Thailand & Overseas Best Cases;” Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn, Director of Horwath HTL, talked about “Thailand’s Rail System Plans & Reality;” Nihat Ercan, Head of Investment Sales at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, addressed the subject of investments with a session entitled “A World View of Hotel Costs – Develop or Acquire?”; Eric Ricaurte, founder & CEO of Greenview, and Prae Piromya, GM of Planning & Operation, Sustainable Development Office at the Central Group, discussed “The Great Debate – Does Green Pay?,” and Eric Levy, Managing Director of TSI, and Clarence Tan, Managing Director SEA & Korea at InterContinental Hotels Group, led a session of attractions called “Hey Neighbor, Can I Borrow Your Waterslide?”. Finally, Wimintra Jangnin, Editor-in-Chief at Hotel Intel looked at “Chindia” (China and India), which currently account for approximately one-third of Thailand’s total overseas arrivals.
Organized by the American Chamber of Commerce – Thailand (AMCHAM) and C9 Hotelworks Hospitality Consulting Group, TTF 2019 is free-to-attend. The event concluded with an evening cocktail party, hosted by the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok, providing opportunities for networking.