VIENTIANE, Lao PDR – The exhibition hall at Lao ITECC was officially declared open on January 21, 2013 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Laos’ Vice Prime Minister, Mr. Asang Laoly. He was joined by tourism ministers from ASEAN member countries.
Following the TRAVEX Briefing session yesterday, the business appointment scheduling began with the Seller-Meet-Buyer (SMB) session and later, the Buyer-Meet-Seller session on the exhibition floor.
“A lot of new buyers this year, great quality,” “ATF always delivers, I’m happy to be back this year.” and “ASEAN sellers are creating increasingly interesting and exciting products,” are some of the comments from pleased participants. The next two business days of the event will see ASEAN sellers and buyers from across the world talk business at the TRAVEX Appointment Sessions.
ATF’s education component, the ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC) was very well attended by ATF TRAVEX delegates and Lao university students. Mr. Mario Hardy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, PATA Foundation kicked off the conference with his keynote speech, followed by an interview with moderator, Mr. Imtiaz Muqbil.
Speakers, Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, Mr. Umberto Cadamuro, Mr. Jimmy Sim, and Mr. Anthony Wong shared statistics, experiences and practical tips on how DMCs, hotels, tourists and locals can embrace eco tourism in a way that is sustainable, responsible and profitable to all stakeholders.
The audience was positive about the quality of the speakers and the content of the conference. Said Mr. Nikolaus Lohmann, Managing Director of Earth TV Network GmbH: “The speeches and panel discussion were fascinating and I think this discussion about eco tourism needs to be taken to the world stage. ASEAN has learnt from the mistakes of earlier movers and is now full of great projects to encourage ecotourism.”
The international and local media showed up in full strength at the NTO media briefings of Lao PDR, Malaysia and Philippines. The coming days will feature media briefings by Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Delegates have made the most of the variety of networking opportunities such as the hosted luncheons by the Host Committee, Laos and Tourism Malaysia, the “Malaysia Night” hosted dinner and the late night function by Philippine Department of Tourism. The next two days will offer even more networking opportunities through the Pattaya Variety Night and hosted luncheons by host country, Laos.
All eyes are now set on the Closing Ceremony to be held on January 24, 2013, where the ATF 2014 flag will be handed over to next year’s host, Malaysia. Talking about ATF 2013, Mr. Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media, said: “This event has been enjoyable and rewarding thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT), Laos. It has been a pleasure working with the host committee to organize this show and we have thoroughly enjoyed their spirit of cooperation.”