Manado in Indonesia hosted the ATF trade fair

Manado in Indonesia hosted the ATF trade fair

Manado in Indonesia hosted the ATF trade fair
January 31
00:00 2012

By Zuzana Adamson

The 31st annual travel industry trade fair aimed at ASEAN countries, ATF (ASEAN Tourism Forum), was hosted January 8-15 by Indonesia. The events took place in Manado, the capital city of the underexplored North Sulawesi Island. The Golden Kawanua Exhibitions Hall was the venue.

ATF is cooperative trade fair that aims to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as a single tourist destination. This event, organised each year in a different member country promotes 10 ASEAN member countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The week was dedicated to the travel industry – the trade fair itself with its vendor stalls was open for two days – 14 and 15 January. There were also special meetings at which buyers and service providers (sellers) and hotels forged business partnerships.

This year’s trade fair was attended by 1,413 delegates, 920 exhibitors, 390 buyers and 103 local and international media representatives. These numbers, however, do not include the number of delegates who participated in meetings and interviews on the ministerial level of each country. The exhibition area extended over 8,440 sq. metres.

The largest exhibition area was occupied by Indonesia, followed by Thailand, which is one of the most popular ASEAN destinations. While Indonesia’s most visited area is Bali, Manado remains a relatively undiscovered seaside destination with only one international flight connection from Singapore. Domestic flights are operated by Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air from Jakarta. The organization of the trade fair was, aside from a few details, flawless. Events for up to 500 participants can be easily hosted in Manado.

The ATF proved successful with buyers: 390 buyers flew from 51 countries. Among the countries with 10 and more buyers were Australia, Germany, India or Italy. The majority of buyers arrived from Indonesia (8 percent), Thailand (7 percent), Singapore (6 percent), UK (6 percent), Germany and Poland (5 percent each). Out of the total number of buyers, 48 percent were from the Asia-Pacific region and 37.6 percent from Europe. Newly attending were countries such as Bulgaria, Egypt, Kuwait and New Zealand.

The NTOs scheduled meetings as part of the cooperation with the ASEAN countries with India, Russia, China, Japan, took meetings like Asean Hotel and Restaurant Association – Board Meeting and others.

Traditional gala dinner evenings and luncheons sponsored by the particular ASEAN destinations such as Lao, Malaysia, the Manado City Government or Philippines were also part of the trade fair, as were special evening programmes with dinners that presented the rich history and culture of those countries. The Opening Ceremony, organised by Indonesia and hosted by Mari Elka Pangestu, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, and the country’s vice-presidentm captivated  the audience. Several parts of this large country were promoted, including Java, Sumatra, Bali, Kalimantan, Papua, through their particular dances.

The delegates were able to admire local costumes and masks as well as the historical development depicted in legends in a compelling dance performance that was very well received, as was another dance performance with masks and a full moon towering in the background,executed with artistry. The audience was impressed and thus the task to draw attention to Indonesian culture was accomplished. The Opening Ceremony took place at the Novotel Manado Convention Centre, a hotel equipped with high-quality, extensive infrastructure suitable for various MICE events.

Myanmar’s press conference revealed that the country is starting to focus on tourists arriving from Central and Eastern Europe, which have so far made up 1.95 percent (7,622 persons) of all visitors. Approximately 1 million tourists visited this remarkable country in 2011. Among the European countries with the highest number of guests  are France, Germany and the UK. Thailand, the most active ASEAN country, this year focused on visitors from neighbouring ASEAN countries due to the adverse economic situation in Europe and the US, which caused a drop in the number of visitors from these regions. The average length of stay is 12 days, while the average daily expenditure equals to 6,000 baths.

Next year, in 2013, the ATF trade fair is set to take place in Lao PDR so there’s plenty to look forward to.


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