Following a better-than-expected domestic MICE promotion campaign, Thailand’s MICE industry has agreed to attract more domestic activities with Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, injecting an initial budget of 20 million baht and 13 involved association pouring support.
At their recent meeting, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and 13 MICE and travel industry associations agreed with a new stimulus plan that focuses on the increase of domestic MICE traffic among those in both the private sector and government agencies, promoting special events, extending human development program, and maintaining high health safety standard.
According to Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, TCEB’s President, the new wave of COVID-19 infections in Thailand has prompted TCEB and the 13 associations to convene and explore additional measures to assist the industry in both the immediate and long term.
The meeting reached an agreement to prioritise the organisation of MICE events and festivals once they can be held in a safe and controlled manner and in compliance with prevailing health and safety standards. All parties also voiced support for holding events in different locations across the country.
Mr. Chiruit said that one of the bureau’s main projects is to extend the ‘Thailand a Safer Place for Meetings’ campaign with additional budget support so that the efforts in stimulating MICE event organisation and domestic travel can be sustained. This campaign co-created by TCEB and private-sector stakeholders was a huge success last year. It generated 1,049 group meetings in over 50 city destinations and attracted 62,000 delegates. Private-sector meetings produced no less than 130 million baht in revenue in all regions of the country.
“TCEB is confident that the campaign can continue to benefit a broad spectrum of the public. For a start, TCEB will allocate a budget of 20 million baht to kick-start the 2021 edition of the campaign” he said.
The six operational plans, resulting from the meeting between TCEB and 13 associations, are as follows:
- Marketing promotion for entrepreneurs. This will be implemented as part of the ‘Thailand a Safer Place for Meetings’ campaign to stimulate domestic MICE. Other than budget support for entrepreneurs nation-wide, there will also be a relaxation of budget request criteria to enable easier and faster access to funding, a consideration to link the campaign with projects from other government agencies, a special budget allocation to help entrepreneurs achieve all the necessary safety and hygiene standards at their venues, and workforce training to better serve the needs of different MICE groups.
- Stimulate activities in regional areas to boost local economies. TCEB will support the private sector in developing economy-boosting schemes that incorporate MICE activities and review the proposals for financial support from TCEB. The goal is to encourage cross-sector collaboration and optimise the economic and social benefits of MICE activities. Towards this end, three categories of MICE activities are stipulated: 1) Exhibitions to be located in all key regions of the country, 2) MICE events and festivals to be held in a destination with a ready capacity and capability, and 3) Large-scale or national events/festivals lasting several months that are capable of stimulating trans-regional travel.
- Elevate hygiene and safety standards at events. TCEB will continue to promote safe events and venues to gain the confidence of MICE travellers and the general public. The bureau will also support any joint recovery plan that benefits the industry, such as the development of tools like the ‘Mor Chana’ app that can be used at all MICE events.
- Support activities held by public agencies. To help distribute income to local and regional areas, TCEB and the 13 organisations will push for a policy to encourage public agencies to organise meetings and seminars. Events that will be held on weekdays will be prioritised. Public agencies will also be persuaded to attract or host international conferences with promising economic value. The outcomes of this engagement with public agencies will be monitored continuously.
- Attracting MICE events to Thailand. The group will work together to build Thailand into a hub for international MICE as stipulated in the national strategic master plan for business tourism. A network of marketing representatives and alliances will be developed to facilitate marketing, bidding and job creation in line with the government’s policy.
- Push for government policy support. The group will also call for more incentives for both private-sector companies and public agencies to organise more meetings, seminars or exhibitions, and for a relaxation of the government’s procurement rules and regulations to spur employment among small-scale entrepreneurs. TCEB will act as a facilitator in compiling policy support suggestions and presenting them to the government.
The 13 associations collaborating with TCEB in empowering MICE against COVID-19 are Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), Association of Domestic Travel (ADT), Thai Federation of Provincial Tourist Associations (TFOPTA), Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA), Thai Exhibition Association (TEA), Thai Hotels Association (THA), Thai Mass Participation Sports Trade Association (TMPSA), Thailand Entertainment Creators Network Association (TECNA), Thailand International Events & Festivals Trade Association (TIEFA), Creative Economy and Contemporary Art and Culture (CAPT Working Group), Business of Creative and Event Management Association (EMA), Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA), and Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA).