Andrew Wood, (right) spoke on the topic of “The
Green Imperative – The Challenges before Travel and Tourism.”
By Andrew Wood
The Travel Agents Federation of India held their annual convention
in Chiang Mai, on the 22nd to the 25th of October 2009. In a landmark tie-up
between the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) and Tourism Authority
of Thailand, Pradip Lulla, President — TAFI and Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya,
Director — TAT New Delhi office on behalf of TAT, organised the Travel
Agents Federation of India (TAFI) Convention 2009.
Saengphuwong, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai makes his opening address to
welcome the delegates.
Indian travel agents and tour operators that attended the Travel Agent
Federation of India (TAFI) convention in Chiang Mai were wowed by Chiang
Mai. From Doi Suthep to the panda family, the city met and surpassed the
expectations of the delegates attending the convention.
Following the convention, from October 25th – 28th, delegates had the
opportunity to participate in a three-night familiarization trip to 10
destinations in Thailand and beyond. Destinations in the planned itinerary
were Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, Chiang Rai, Cambodia, Vietnam and
The City and its administrators did an excellent job of welcoming the Indian
market to Chiang Mai. It is poised to boost visits to Chiang Mai as well as
Northern Thailand from the Indian sub continent.
Kad Mua morning market was set up for the Indians to sample some of the
The convention theme was “Breaking Barriers- Believe to Achieve”, the
business sessions and speakers were aimed at preparing agents for a tough
and challenging business cycle as agents prepar to live with zero airline
There were many interesting speakers and presentations including our very
own Thailand speaker, Andrew Wood who spoke on the topic of “The Green
Imperative – The Challenges before Travel and Tourism.” Mr. Wood is Skal
International’s Chairman of Responsible Tourism for Skal Intl Worldwide and
is also the General Manager of the Chaophya Park Hotel in Bangkok.
The TAFI convention was well attended with over 900 delegates finally making
it to Chiang Mai. Thailand hoteliers and travel trade suppliers attended
the 2 day B2B sessions also and took the numbers to over 1000 delegates.
Major sponsors for the convention were the Tourism Authority of Thailand and
the official carrier was Thai Airways International. Congress Hotels were
the Shangri-La and Le Meridien Chiang Mai .
Previous TAFI Conventions were held in Mauritius, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore,
and Kota Kinabalu. Each of these destinations has seen a steep increase in
Indian tourist arrivals as a result of the conventions.
The city was so full that for the first time in many months, the airport was
stretched with airlines reporting overbooking and all flights to Bangkok
It is good to see Chiang Mai so busy again and it is time for this rose of
the North to make a recovery. Hopefully the Indian market will be in the
forefront helping to revive the city’s fortunes.
Guests experienced the warm hospitality as can
only be afforded
by the charming people of the Land of Smiles.