What exactly is ATF 2012?

Posted by - January 11, 2012 | Category: Asia, Escapes, Indonesia

ASEAN Tourism Forum, Manado, Indonesia


If you’re looking for the Anywhere Theatre Festival in Brisbane, I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. But you’re more than welcome to stay. I like newcomers. Especially artsy ones.

There should be some sort of governing body for duelling Twitter hashtags — in this case #atf2012 – but alas, there is not. So in the meantime, how about a gentleman’s agreement? The Australia theatre folks can have it after January 15th. Until then, it’s Indonesia’s. Agreed? Let’s move on…

The ATF 2012 I’m talking about is the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) taking place in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia from January 8th to January 15th, 2012.



The portion I will be attending is TRAVEX 2012 – the travel exchange, or trade show. Buyers in one corner, sellers in another, and (ahem) media like me in the middle reporting on the whole thing.


First of all though, a bit more about what exactly ATF is and what it aims to do. The following is from their press release.

“The ASEAN Tourism Forum is a cooperative regional effort to promote the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as one tourist destination.

ATF TRAVEX is the longest-running annual ASEAN leisure travel trade event, showcasing the largest contingent of ASEAN sellers. This annual event involves all the tourism industry sectors of the 10 ASEAN member nations: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Each year the hosting of ATF is rotated among the member countries. Indonesia will host ATF 2012 and is all geared up to welcome over 1,600 delegates which includes more than 450 international buyers and 150 international media. ATF 2012 marks the 31st anniversary of this event since its inauguration in Malaysia in 1981.”

ASEAN Tourism Forum -- sign at Manado airport -- ATF 2012 Indonesia

So what am I doing here? Good question. As part of my goal-setting for the year ahead, I researched travel trade shows in 2012. I was planning on being in Indonesia during this time anyway, so it made sense to attend. I sent in my application, and was accepted as media.

What do I hope to get out of ATF 2012?

Well, I’m a blogger, so I’m looking for stories — anything unique or unusual or…well, blog-worthy.

I get to attend briefings from the Tourism Boards of the member nations, plus a few free lunches and dinners hosted by the National Tourism Boards Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and the City of Manado, as well as the ATF 2012 opening and closing ceremonies. And I get to wander around the convention — that’s the part that’s got my interest piqued. So there’s plenty of potential here.

There’s also a learning component of ATF 2012 called the ASEAN Tourism Conference (ATC). This year’s theme is  ‘ASEAN Goes Green’ and the keynote speaker is Mr. Taleb D. Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization).


Good thing I ironed a shirt.

If you’re attending ATF 2012, don’t be afraid to say ‘hi’ — I’m the tall, gangly Canadian with this around his neck.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Subscribe to the Man On The Lam Newsletter

Get a monthly round-up of travel & lifestyle articles, plus unique content & hush-hush extras only for members.

23 comments - add one
  1. Wow, this should be a really unique experience. I had never heard of this before but should be very interesting. Have fun!

  2. Well, you’ve finally hit the Big Time, Raymond!! Look at you, all “foreign correspondent” with your ID tag and wrinkle-free shirt.
    And seriously, with a logo like ‘Let’s Succeed the Event!”, who wouldn’t want to attend to see what other “lost in translation” phrases might surface?!
    Stay away from those British media-types; I hear they’re a rowdy bunch…

  3. A blog worthy to be considered as media is something to be proud of! Definitely sounds like a fun and informative event. Don’t forget to score some freebies while you are there. Nice to see SE Asia focusing on tourism more and more – its a good money maker for countries with typically good weather conditions.

    1. Thanks Sherry — it was an eye-opener for sure. I did get to see some great (and some not-so-great) presentations and attend some excellent events. And of course, plenty of freebies. 🙂

      (see I miss comments too!)


Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.