How to Rock TBEX Asia 2021!

image-of-thai-chef-and-michael-taylor-at-phuket-beach-hotel-restaurant
Here I am posing with the chef and waitresses at The Andaman Kitchen at the Marriott Naiyang Beach Hotel. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Amazing Thailand

TBEX returns to Asia following a five-year hiatus. TBEX Asia 2021 will be held in the Thai island of Phuket. Targeting  bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, influencers, and the media, it will be held at the luxurious Angsana Laguna Phuket.

TBEX Asia 2021 – Overview

To begin with, TBEX Asia 2021 will be held at Angsana Laguna Phuket from 20 to 22 October.

And the theme of TBEX Asia will be “Diversity of the South, Phuket & Beyond.”

In fact, the conference is expected to attract hundreds of travel and lifestyle creators  from around the world.

And there will be a keyhnote address followed by in depth workshops and breakout sessions on such topics as story telling, writing, photography, video creation, podcasting, and SEO,

Before the conference starts, there will be local pre-event day tours. And following the conference, participants can apply for overnight post-TBEX tours to neighboring provinces.

For example, expected destinations include Phang Nga, Krabi, Surat Thani, and Songkhla.

  • Pre-BEX Day Trips start on 19 October
  • Workshops start on 20 October
  • Main Conference stars on 21 October
  • FAM-Trips start on 22 October

“It is a distinguished honour for Thailand once again to be the host of the TBEX Asia since we were the first country in Asia to host the event in 2015,” says Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT),

“Today, five years later, we are in an entirely different and exceedingly difficult operating environment.

“To be chosen as the host country proves the confidence in Thailand’s tourism industry and has become a recognition and reward for our efforts in containing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks.”

BTW, Angsana Laguna Phuket is a part of Laguna Phuket, an integrated resort occupying 1,000 acres of lush tropical parkland.

Laguna Phuket has three kilometers of beachfront. And there are seven hotels, with a total of 1,400 rooms.

In fact, Amazing Thailand and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau are sponsoring the event.

TBEX – the Back Story

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Angsana Laguna Phuket will be the site of TBEX 2021 Asia.
 

To be honest. I have been suffering from TBEX withdrawal symptoms for quite some time. And I have been waiting for another one to take place closer to home.

While more than 20 conferences have been held in various countries over the years, I have only attended three of them:

  • TBEX ’15 Asia, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 15 to 17 October 2015. The venue was the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
  • TBEX Europe 2016, which was held from 14 to 16 June 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden. The venue was the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre
  • TBEX Asia Pacific 2016, which was held in Manila, Philippines, from 13 to 16 October 2016. THe venue was the Philippines International Convention Center.

The ticket included three days of keynote sessions, educational breakout sessions, morning and afternoon coffee breaks, and group lunches.

In addition, there were networking opportunities with other bloggers. And there was the chance to meet with tourism boards and travel brands.

After hours, there were meet ups, parties, and networking events.

However, what I enjoyed most was what took place before and after the conference.

Included were both Pre-BEX day trips and multi-day Post-BEX familiarization trips, a.k.a. FAM trips.

Pre-BEX Day Trips

Under the Rainbow Flag pre-TBEX city tour in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The pre-event trips were usually half day affairs. Unfortunately, I missed out on these in Bangkok because I signed up too late and they were already full.

However, in Stockholm, I took full advantage of them, signing up for about three half day tours. And my favourite was a food tour, which gave us a “taste” of the city’s best restaurants.

In fact, we visited five or six eateries, enjoying “small bites” at each one. As our guide explained, Stockholmers usually eat Swedish food at home. So when they eat out, they prefer to sample international cuisine.

Consequently, we were taken on a gastronomic world tour, visiting Chinese, Italian, Indian, and American restaurants.

For dessert, we stopped at a gourmet chocolate shop, where the candies were made on site.

And we ended up at a photography museum, where we enjoyed a traditional Swedish “fika”, which is coffee and a mouthwatering pastry.

In Manila, I signed up for a bar-hopping tour, which lived up the tourism board’s “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign.

As we boarded a disco bus, we were told to “open wide,” with the admonition, ‘No shot, not entry!”

With music blaring and lights flashing, we danced as we were ferried between  some of Manila’s trendier nightclubs. All while trying to keep our balance and not spill our drinks!

To clarify, day trips are assigned on a first come first serve basis. And the number of participants is always small.

Post-TBEX FAM Trips

Regarding the Post-TBEX FAM Trips, participants have to apply. And organizers can check out their credentials before deciding which applicants they want to host.

These trips usually last between three and seven days. Because of my late application in Bangkok, I had to settle for a half day visit to a muay Thai studio in a distance suburb.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed  the experience because I have become a muay Thai enthusiast.

Swedish Fam Trip

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Travel bloggers arriving in Northern Sweden. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

My early registration in Stockholm allowed me to take part in a multi-day tour of Northern Sweden. In fact, we flew to the country’s largest city in the north. And we returned to Stockholm by train.

Our first night was at a Swedish farm, which had been converted into a small-scale conference venue. Following dinner, we sailed up and down a small river, savouring champagne, ice cream, and strawberries.

On our second day, we went white-water rafting. And we spent the night  at a tree-house hotel. On our third day, we visited museums and did a food crawl, spending the night at a hotel in town.

We had the final day at leisure. And we returned to Stockholm by train.

Most importantly, the people were warm and hospitable. And the food was absolutely amazing!

Philippine Fam Trip

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TBEX travel bloggers arrive at Club Paradise in the Philippines. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Because I was learning the ropes, I scored the biggest dividends in Manila. And some personal contacts helped.

First, I was accepted for a trip to the island of North Palawan, which included a total of four nights at two hotels. We went kayaking, swimming, and scuba diving. And we even had a picnic on a secluded beach.

Because of a pre-existing contact, I was able to extend my stay at the second hotel by three nights. And what a luxury it was spending five nights at this luxurious eco-resort!

In fact, the same contact arranged two nights for me at a hotel in Boracay, which is another island in the Philippine Archipelago.

And thanks to the speed-dating in Manila, I was hosted by a neighboring hotel for two additional nights.

Transportation to and from Manila was included in the tour. But I paid for the flight from Palawan to Boracay.

As with the day trips, participation was kept small.

How to Rock TBEX Asia 2021

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Clockwise from lower left: me, David Pardo de Ayala, Michael Celis, Bret Love, Mary Gabbett, Anton Diaz, and Mildred Amon at a pre-event dinner hosted by a hotel in Manila.

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of attending TBEX Asia.

Get active on social media! Before arriving at TBEX Asia 2021, start networking by posting on Facebook and other social media platforms. It was great to be greeted BY NAME by the keynote speaker upon my arrival at the conference in Stockholm!

Arrive early! If you arrive at the last  minute, you might miss out on half the fun. In addition to the day tours, there is usually a party the night before the official event starts. There is usually entertainment, food, and beverage. But sometimes early arrivers make their own arrangements one or two days before the official activities begin.

Be flexible!  During speed dating, you might be able to arrange tours or hotel stays after the conference ends., So factor in a few extra days – just in case.

Book a hotel near the conference site! Taxi drivers in Phuket are notorious for ripping off tourists.  So try to book a hotel within walking distance of the conference site. If this is not possible, see if your hotel can arrange  transport for you.

 

 

 

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