PHNOM Penh is gearing up to host the 30th ASEAN Tourist Forum (ATF 2011) with more than 1,600 delegates including 400 international buyers at the capital’s newly completed Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Centre in January.
Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the ATF 2011 Inter-Ministerial Organising Committee, Sok An, said it was a great event for ASEAN and ASEAN + 3 (India, Australia and Russia) and other partners to help promote the development of the tourism industry.
He said the forum theme would be ASEAN – A World of Wonders and Diversity which would reflect the region’s rich culture, abundant natural resources and high quality services in the tourism industry.
Minister for Tourism Thong Khon said it would be held from January 15-21 and would include travel exchange TRAVEX providing the venue for ASEAN’s package tour sellers and potential buyers from the region and the world.
“Cambodia is proud to host ATF for the second time – the first was in 2003 – which proves the development in all sectors in Cambodia, particularly infrastructure development, potential cultural and historical tourism, and abundant natural resources, together with the natural smiles of Cambodian people, deserved to be recognized as Cambodia – Kingdom of Wonder’” he said.
The Minister added that “the ATF will give the greatest opportunities for both buyers and sellers to enhance business communication, operation and networking in a close and friendly manner.”
TRAVEX said it had recorded strong interest and a rapid take-up rate by exhibitors for the travel trade event which would showcase the largest contingent of ASEAN destination products and services and have 25 percent more booths space than last year.
More than 70 percent of the 450 available booth spaces have already been secured by last month by some 240 exhibiting companies from across the 10 ASEAN countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Buyer registrations have been overwhelming with more than 600 applications received from across the world. Only 400 of the best buyers will be selected to attend the event under a privileged hosting program.
With regards to the buoyant interest for ATF 2011, Ooi Peng Ee, general manager of TTG Asia Media’s exhibition and events explained: “Improving market optimism aside, a significant part of this year’s interest also has to do with the appeal of Cambodia as a destination. Our international delegates are motivated to experience the country’s rich cultural, natural, and historical heritage.”
Host country Cambodia began its marketing efforts to tantalise the industry’s travel professionals at the last ATF 2010 closing ceremony by pulling out all stops to deliver a sumptuous and entertaining evening complete with a gastronomic and cultural showcase.