Bangkok’s 8th Annual Thailand Tourism Forum on Monday drew its largest crowd yet, with tickets selling out well in advance and the conference room at InterContinental holding an engaged, standing room-only crowd. They gathered to hear provocative new ideas from thought leaders like Bill Barnett, of C9 Hotelworks; Supaluck Umpujh, of The Mall Group; and our own CEO, David Keen.
The mood was kept light through nine short Q&A presentations – one presenter who was celebrating a birthday even got a pie to the face. We see you, Eric Levy.
The topics covered were wide and vast. From the effects of new rail lines, to catering to new demographics of tourists, to innovations in room keys and more.
QUO CEO David Keen posed hard-hitting questions to Diethelm Travel CEO Stephan Roemer. The focus of their lively chat was the successes and shortcomings of tourism in the country. They explored whether success can be measured by the sheer volume of arriving tourists alone, how to repair an overwhelmed infrastructure in Bangkok, and how travel industry insiders can help enhance the reputation of Thailand.
Among the most interesting exchanges was a discussion about green tourism and the costs and challenges of developing the sector. Eric Ricaurte, CEO of Greenview, sat down with Central Group’s Sustainable Development GM Prae Piromya. They talked over projects that extend green tourism initiatives into the more far-flung provinces, such as a farmer’s market aimed at tourists in Udon Thani, and programs to teach visitors Thai weaving techniques in rural areas.
When all was said and done, the large group adjourned for a spirited networking session where the bubbly, craft beer, and conversation flowed well into the evening.
We’re looking forward to see how these industry players make good on their ideas this time next year. You can bet we’ll be in the audience.