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Indian Federation of Travel Agents at home in Thailand


Indian Federation of Travel Agents at home in Thailand

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.  

Pairote 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 Philippines.
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.

A Kad Mua morning market was set up for the Indians to sample some of the local delicacies.
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 commissions. 
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 sold out.
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.