The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau TCEB is working to meet an expected 940,000 business travellers this year and rake in an income of 88 billion baht or $2.8Bln in 2013.
Its director of Marketing and Corporate Image Department Parichat Svetasreni said last year, Thailand welcomed 895,224 business travellers, who contributed revenue of 79 billion baht.
She disclosed this during a media familiarisation trip organised by the TCEB to Krabi, the latest attraction for business travellers to the country. Journalists from Thailand,Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, the US and Russia were part of the familiarisation trip from June 12 to 23.
Last year, Thailand organised 7,382 business events and 33 per cent of it was conventions, 25 per cent corporate meetings, 24 per cent incentives and exhibition 18 per cent, Parichat said.She said most business travelllers to Thailand last year were from the Asian region, representing 65 per cent of the business travellers arrival, followed by Europe 11 per cent, US six per cent, Oceania four per cent and other regions 14 per cent.
To achieve the set target for this year, TCEB, the Thai’s government agency charged with promoting the Meeting, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions MICE industry, is in the process of repackaging its strategies and promotion.The agency had previously projected destinations like Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai for MICE activities, as these places have their own distinctive attractions.
Thailand’s MICE industry outlook, meetings are a very important industry, and can be categorised as corporate, incentive and international meetings. The industry accounts for a greater than 82 per cent share of the overall MICE industry with a total value of Bt67.06 billion.
Mr. Thongchai Sridama, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)’s Acting President, said that Thailand is still among the priority destinations for foreign organisations interested in holding international meetings. Last year, Thailand hosted 7,294 meetings, of which 2,751 were corporate meetings, 2,643 international meetings and 1,900 incentive meetings.
This year, the TCEB expects that the meetings industry will be valued at Bt73.9 billion with 767,400 MICE travelers coming to Thailand to participate in meetings. For this reason, the meetings industry is regarded as an engine to drive the MICE industry towards sustainable growth. However, the prolonged economic downturn, which is showing signs of worsening in many regions of the world, as well as changes in the global meetings industry as forecast in a report on trends, directions and models of meetings in 2020, makes it essential for Thailand to adjust and prepare for the changing environment in the future.
According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)’s report “Strategic Foresight Study on Convention 2020 – The Future of Meetings, Venues and Destinations” indicates that the number of meetings on general themes will decrease in the years ahead but will be designed on a larger platform while there will be a greater choice of meetings on specific themes. Meetings with low expenses, such as those in libraries and universities, will be more interesting.
The study also predicted five main reasons for delegates’ decisions to participate in these future meetings: the meetings must offer quality networking; the meetings must offer up-to-date and useful knowledge for participants involved in each industry; the meetings must ensure the participants will have a chance to meet the key industry figures; quality and good academic standing of keynote speakers; and contents of the meetings must be complete.
Future meetings must thus assess and take concrete steps to reduce the carbon footprint. The ICCA study also found that the future meetings will adopt more advanced technologies in organising the events. The top-five technologies to which organisers and the participants will respond are: Live Video Streaming for remote meetings; Social Networking to contact the participants before, during and after the events; Presentations and Meeting Documents that can be downloaded via smartphones; Virtual Meetings Sites, and Interactive Display Walls to allow full interaction by participants.
“Thailand’s meetings industry has high potential for growth. Hence, it is essential that all aspects of the industry are developed to prepare for the likely competition, especially in the fields of research & development, effective databases, creative meetings, advanced technology as well as ensuring a good experience for the participants. The meetings will not only generate economic benefits, but will also serve Thailand in terms of international academic networking and knowledge distribution, both of which are the foundation for the future development of the country.”
Mr. Thongchai added that in an effort to increase the number of international meetings, the bureau is supporting bids for various events. The bureau is teaming up with associations, organisations, educational institutes and government agencies to set the strategies and preparedness for the bids as well as activities to win. The TCEB also aims to increase the number of delegates by supporting budgets for public relations and marketing activities as well as providing consultancy and facilitation services. In addition, the TCEB will lead Thai MICE operators in joining international trade shows to promote Thailand to the associations and representatives in target markets. This will open opportunities for Thailand’s MICE market and enhance the relations among MICE operators all over the world.