International MICE markets show confidence in Thailand

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Forty-three MICE entrepreneurs from 15 markets, who visited Thailand as part of Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)’s first familiarisation trip after a two-year pause, expressed their confidence in Thailand and the seven-day trip produced 57 leads with a business value estimated at 1,900 million baht.

Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President of TCEB, said the 2022 Thailand MICE Familiarisation Trip was a clear reflection of Thailand’s readiness to host face-to-face international business events again following the success in pandemic control and the increased normalisation of international travel.

The trip participants were MICE agents, event planners, meeting planners, corporate buyers and professional conference organisers (PCOs) from 15 markets –  Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, the UK, and the USA.

“We are expecting a strong rebound in Thailand’s meeting and incentive sectors in the short term, followed by a broader-based recovery in the medium term. This is mainly because of our preparedness and readiness developed during the pandemic. Our MICE community has moved forward to providing better products and services and, of course, hygiene standard. We believe visitors to Thailand this year will find the experience extraordinarily rewarding.”

This familiarisation trip also demonstrated how Thailand can now help organisers meet their sustainability requirements. All activities during the trip were conducted with sustainable event management in mind. The total reduction of CO2 emissions for the trip amounted to 6,603.19    kgCO2e, which is equivalent to planting 400 trees. Selected materials from the farewell party such as fabric for stage performance and backdrop decoration have also been retained for reuse.

Throughout the trip, TCEB was able to schedule meetings between participants and Thai suppliers. The meetings with international convention centres and hotels generated six leads, which are worth an estimated 919 million baht of revenue and comprise 14,600 travellers. The meeting and incentive segment generated 51 leads, with an estimated 15,580 travellers and 981 million of revenue. The sum total of potential revenue is 1,900 million baht.

At the conclusion of the trip, participants cited Thailand’s client-centric service culture, variety of choice, and sumptuous food as Thailand’s strongest draws for international MICE.

Mr. Werner Van Cleemputte, Owner of MediCongress – a Belgium-based professional conference organiser (PCO), said: “Over the last four days of the familiarisation trip, we have been impressed by how much Bangkok has evolved. We saw the standard for an international conference. I would say Thailand is unique in how flexible the people you work with are and the technology that is available now. We know hybrid meetings are common nowadays but the spirit that you have here in Thailand makes everybody want to come to a real conference and meet one another in person again.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Alexandra Goodsell, Head of Customer Success, Power2Motivate – an Australian event planner, said: “Joining this fam trip definitely tells me that Thailand is so much more than just for incentives. No wonder Thailand is among the most distinctive options for MICE, because there is a good variety of products that respond to many types of MICE travellers. Hotel quality and the food standard have been raised. There are a lot more hotel products and MICE venues available now. The leisure destinations are really good options for MICE travellers, especially for a younger demographic from maybe a tech company.”

Mr. Mark Cochrane, Regional Director Asia-Pacific of UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry), said: “During the pandemic, we saw Thailand’s endeavour to improve its service quality. Event organisers had to put in place new processes to overcome problems caused by COVID-19. Now, Thailand is putting more emphasis on customer-oriented services, such as the Thailand Pass, which can be considered an expansion of Thailand’s strengths in efficient servicing. This has benefited event organisers, who are really the core to any successful exhibitions.”

Mr. Chiruit concluded: “The feedback we received from participants reaffirms our view that public-private sector collaboration is key to communicating Thailand’s unique selling points to overseas audience. TCEB is mindful of the need to shift our focus from helping our industry survive COVID-19 to helping them achieve product rejuvenation and new competitiveness at this juncture. With the recovery of international MICE in sight, I am glad that TCEB’s familiarisation trip has been able to impress upon our participants that after more opening of international travel, Thailand remains a high-trust destination with outstanding products and services.”

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