As we resume our regular activities, the travel industry has also made a big comeback this year. ITATOA (Independent Travel Agencies and Tour Operators Association), one of the leading travel agency associations in the country, has initiated its plans for 2022, promising a more productive year for its members. In fact, in the first face-to-face GMM held in Laguna last July 2, 2022, the ITATOA officers and BOT, spearheaded by its president, Ms. Lira Sarigumba, designed a successful event where members, despite their busy schedules, could connect and build camaraderie. In addition, with the start of the last quarter of the year (September 25-29, 2022, ITATOA also conducted its first international familiarization tour in Thailand.
What is the purpose of the fam tour?
- Based on the word “familiarization”, one of the goals is for travel agents to become familiar with what they sell or offer. As travel agency owners, it will be an advantage for them if they are familiar with the hotels (the location, amenities, and price range), the activities, and other details, so they could answer all the clients’ queries and have recommendations as well.
- Through the travel agents’ FAM tour, they can also create a better plan on how to design their own travel package.
- Also, because they’ve been able to discover and understand the culture, it’s going to be easier for them to promote tourism.
Participants of the ITATOA Bangkok + Pattaya Fam Tour
In ITATOA, they don’t see themselves as competitors. In fact, they support each other and this FAM tour is a perfect time for them to bond together. Listed below are the ITATOA members who participated in the said fam tour held last September 25-29, 2022. Their home for 5 days and 4 nights was the Grand China Bangkok.
- Big Leap Travel Ventures (Cebu)
- I Travel Plus (Cebu)
- JC4 Travel and Tours (Pasay)
- Joli Travel and Tours (Quezon City)
- Journey Beyond Time Travel and Tours (Batangas City)
- Matriarch Travel and Tours (Taguig City)
- Mesho Travel and Tours (Bulacan)
- My Trips Travel and Tours (Batangas City)
- Natural Arts Travel and Tours (Puerto Princesa, Palawan)
- Tripsdiary Travel and Tours (Taguig City)
- Viajera Travels Experience (Batangas City)
- Weekendays Travel and Tours (Caloocan)
- Yuppify Travel and Tours (Taguig City)
In partnership with Forever Travel, the ITATOA team spent their 5d4n with a full range of activities.
Day 1 (Sept. 25, 2022)
Arrival at the airport
20 travel agents arrived at the Suvarnabhumi Airport at 9:00 am via Cebu Pacific and the remaining 2 arrived in the evening at Don Mueang International Airport via Air Asia.
They were met and greeted by Sir Yong, their tour guide for 5 days. They had a short briefing on their way to the Asia Hotel for lunch.
Lunch at Tivoli Cafe, located at the Asia Hotel
The team dined at Tivoli Cafe, a restaurant that offers an exciting array of Thai, regional and continental favorites. They enjoyed a sumptuous buffet, enough to be refueled for the rest of the day.
Check in at Grand China Hotel
Note: Check my review for Grand China Bangkok here.
Some TAs took an opportunity to take a nap after unpacking; some even took a quick walk around Chinatown. They went shopping and got an authentic Thai foot massage.
Before heading to Baiyoke Sky for dinner, they checked out the Sky View 360 at Grand China Bangkok, an Asian Fusion restaurant that offers exciting views of the city.
Dinner at Baiyoke Sky (78th floor)
An exhausting day is worth a feast – the day ended with a buffet dinner at Baiyoke Sky. The place is perfect not only because of the breathtaking view, but because it also serves both Asian and western-style dishes including: Thai dishes, seafood, sushi, salads, pizza, pasta, cheese and desserts.
Day 2 (Sept. 26, 2022)
Breakfast @G Gallery & Cuisine
The G Gallery & Cuisine is where Grand China Bangkok guests have their complimentary buffet breakfast. It serves a variety of delectable meals such as rice, chicken, pork, seafood, breads and pastries, egg station, cereals, coffee, juices and smoothies.
Wat Traimit (The Temple of the Golden Buddha)
After the hearty meal, the TAs proceed to the Wat Traimit, a royal temple which consecrates the solid golden Buddha. Before the activity, Sir Yong reminded them to wear decent clothes (something that covers the shoulders and knees).
Wat Arun Temple
Wat Arun (also referred to as the Temple of Dawn), is one of the most stunning temples and iconic structures in Thailand. It lies along the beautiful Chao Phraya River. It is famous for its magnificent architectural design and lush garden.
Then they visited Gems Gallery, which presents a great selection of jewelry and gems. Guests can also pay in their own currency and the store accepts debit and credit cards.
Lunch at Ambassador Hotel
Ambassador Hotel ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bangkok City Inn ⭐⭐⭐
Chao Phraya Princess Dinner Cruise
Before dinner, the TAs had the opportunity to stroll through ICONSIAM, which features luxury shops. Meanwhile, they felt like a child too, enjoying the dancing lights and the fountain.
Conservative looking because of the temple tour, the ITATOA team has transformed with their chic and elegant outfit, in time for their two-hour luxury dinner cruise with iconic views. It was time to savor the delicious dishes and tempting desserts, and of course to have fun and party!!!!
Day 3 (Sept. 27, 2022)
Maeklong Railway Market
This is probably not new to you because you can also see markets almost anywhere. What makes it unique? The Maeklong Railway Marketplace has existed since 1905. Also, you can grab something to eat and shop for interesting and inexpensive stuff. The best thing is –you can always haggle, but take it easy.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is one of the most popular floating markets in Thailand. This has been a tradition for about a century. In the past, day-to-day trade in Thailand has been conducted primarily along rivers and canals. Expect sellers to be persistent when selling. They can drop the cost until you can afford it.
Chang Puak Elephant Camp
This activity is recommended if you are interested in riding with an elephant for a totally unique experience. You can also feed it and strike a pose for an additional cost.
For kids-at-heart, you will definitely enjoy the following activities.
Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World
Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia. Relax as you watch the colorful fishes swim and hover in the water. It’s also fascinating to learn about the various marine creatures.
This attraction is worth a visit, especially if you like celebrities and want to take pictures with them. These waxworks will make that dream a reality.
Street Food Craze
After a whole day full of activities, the ITATOA team ate street food for their dinner. Surprisingly, some TAs still got some reserved energy to take an evening walk at Chinatown. 🤣😂
At Chinatown, you can explore and buy street food, Chinese products, apparels and accessories, and a lot more.
Day 4 (Sept. 28, 2022)
This is a 2-hour trip from Bangkok to Pattaya.
NongNooch Tropical Garden & Cultural Village 🐘
Thai Cultural Show
The 45-minute culture show featured dancers and musicians wearing traditional folk costumes.
Elephant Show 🐘
You will see the trained elephants and be amazed how they can perform, play football, basketball, bowling, and even give a massage. In addition to, the tourists can give a banana and take pictures with the elephant closely with an additional cost.
The TAs also enjoyed the Thai/international buffet, which is included in the package.
- Sunbeams Hotel ⭐⭐⭐⭐
2. One Patio Hotel ⭐⭐⭐⭐
3. A-One ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Shopping at Central Festival Pattaya 🛍️
Since it was the last day to spend in Thailand, (because the TAs were about to leave the following day), they took advantage of the remaining time to enjoy the sight of the beach. Most of them spent the rest of their money to buy souvenirs for their relatives and friends.
Mookata Dinner 🍴
Mookata is a style of Thai cuisine that combines Korean barbecue and Chinese hot pot. Well, it’s not very obvious that these TAs love eating 😁
Day 5 (Sept. 29, 2022)
- Transfer to the airport ✈️
Time flies so fast that the fam tour has ended–Bye, Thailand for now. This is just a start of more adventures with the ITATOA Team!
The above itinerary is just an example of what you can experience in Thailand. The 5d/4n familiarization tour gave the participants ample time to create their tour packages. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with them by clicking on their business names (on the list of the participants above).
“We travel not to escape life, but for life, not to escape us.”Anonymous
📢Expect further updates about upcoming ITATOA events.
My personal experience about this trip will be posted soon. Please don’t forget to follow my social media channels below. You can also drop a message to email@example.com for collaborations or media inquiry or you can click here.
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