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New Gen of tourism professionals addresses the future of Thai hospitality industry.
Thursday, 26th January 2017
Source : Thailand Tourism Forum

The 6th annual Thailand Tourism Forum highlights the latest data, explores strategies and offers solutions for hospitality brands within the region’s fast evolving travel industry.

On Monday January 23, 2017 the annual Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) brings together more than 500 hotel industry professionals at the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok to discuss the most important issues currently facing the country’s tourism sector.

Despite significant global challenges, tourism in Thailand continues to show impressive resilience with annual arrival numbers set to exceed 30 million. Increased airlift and expanded infrastructure in Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai all serve as strong enablers for growth, while an ability to adapt to ever-evolving visitor needs and expectations continues to allow Thailand's tourism markets to thrive, even in the face of a rapidly changing global travel market.

Even with a positive big picture outlook, Thailand faces significant challenges and strong competition from other countries in Southeast Asia and hotels across the kingdom are continually faced with the task of reaching respectable levels of ADR while also maintaining RevPar. Meanwhile, tourism dependent businesses are forced to repeatedly re-invent themselves in order to stay relevant, not only to visitors’ changing travel aspirations, but also to the expectations of visitors from an ever widening range of cultures and source markets.

“New faces from new places demand new business models that will breathe life into the Thailand tourism industry. The ‘Chinafication’ of Thai tourism means that Chinese visitors have be come the oxygen for growth and with a rise in independent, wealthy travellers it’s time for the industry to look beyond the tour groups and refine its approach to all the key Asian source markets,” said Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks.

These new demands and market dynamics are assessed and analyzed by expert presenters and debated in lively panel discussions at the Thailand Tourism Forum 2017 during a full afternoon programme followed by a well attended networking event, supported by the InterContinental Hotel Bangkok.

Underlining the importance of new generation thinking for hotels and hospitality businesses in Thailand, TTF this year welcomed Khun Vorasit 'Wan' Issara, Managing Director of Sri panwa, a member company of Charn Issara Group. Sri panwa is one of Thailand’s leading luxury hotels and Wan is very active in the Group's hospitality undertakings which also include Baba Beach Club Hotel in Phang Nga and Baba Beach Club Hotel in Cha Am – Hua Hin.

Also among the panelist was Gavin Vongkusolkit, Founder & MD, founder and managing director of Heritage Estates Co., Ltd. which owns and operates Ad Lib Hotel, Glowfish Serviced Offices, various office properties in Bangkok, and six outlets of KuppaDeli cafes. Gavin has served as a director of the Erawan Group Plc. since 2011, and is also a director of YEC - the Young Entrepreneurs of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (Bangkok Chapter).

"In a world of instant updates and ever-changing travel technologies, trends and attitudes, it's more important than ever to be an innovative player in the industry," says Bill Barnett, Managing Director, C9 Hotelworks, one of the event's founders and organizers. "TTF 2017 focuses on key statistics and emerging trends and we are pleased to showcase some of the powerful new Thai regional destination brands that have emerged in recent years, and consider how new ideas and aspirations are reshaping hospitality."

From left: Mr. Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks; Mr. David Keen, CEO of QUO; Mr. Gavin Vongkusolkit, Founder and Managing Director of Heritage Estates Co., Ltd.; Mr. Wichit Na Ranong, Former President of the Tourism Council of Thailand and owner of The Slate Phuket resort; Mr. Vorasit Issara, Managing Director of Sri Panwa; Mr. Anthony Lark, President of Phuket Hotels Association; and Mr. Charles Blocker, CEO, IC Partners and the event’s co-organizer.

Over the last three years, TTF has established itself as an important platform for hospitality business leaders and tourism experts to candidly discuss the health and direction of the travel industry. The success of this year’s event further cemented it’s value in helping to chart the future success of tourism in Thailand.

"Every year TTF builds on the issues and conversations it started the previous year and 2017 is no exception. The forum not only offers a unique opportunity for considered conversation but also the chance for Thailand’s tourism professionals to connect with their industry peers," said Charles Blocker, CEO, IC Partners and the event’s co-organizer.

To see a full programme and download the presentations from the event, please visit or

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