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Build Thailand as ASEAN’s preferred MICE destination

————Interview with Nichapa Yoswee, Senior Vice President – Business, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau

What is the government’s target for Thailand MICE industry? What is the role of Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in industry development?

Yoswee: The government’s positioning for Thailand MICE industry is clear and ambitious. The Thai government has incorporated MICE into 20-year strategic national development plan, recognizing MICE as a new engine of economic growth and income distribution and has been providing budget support for Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) as a leading government agency in driving the growth and development of the MICE industry.

After 15 years of establishment, we have been able to position Thailand as ASEAN’s top destination for international conferences, trade shows, MICE education and standard. Thailand has now been ASEAN’s top destination for international conferences for 3 years in a row, according to ICCA statistics. The country is also ASEAN’s top exhibition platform in terms of net space sold and revenue per fair for 14 consecutive years, as cited by the statistics of UFI. International exhibitions in Thailand registered 24% growth in net space sold in 2017, while achieving 126% growth of trade visitors from Southeast Asia, 58% from North Asia and 166% from South Asia. In addition, in 2018, our support for bidding was extremely successful, having won 14 bids, attracted 8 new trade shows and supported 10 mega-size meeting and incentive groups.

Could you give us some latest numbers of MICE visitors to Thailand? What do you think are Thailand’s advantages as a MICE destination?

Yoswee: The number of overseas MICE travellers to Thailand in 2018 has jumped by 19.85% to 1,255,985 from 1,047,959 in 2017, while the generated revenue has grown by 8.10% to 95,623 million baht from 88,459 million baht in 2017. The top five market sources are China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea. China has been our top source market since 2013 and has grown by 40% in 2018 when compared with 2017.

According to TCEB’ survey in 20 countries among 690 business travelers,MICE travelers and organizations involved with MICE, Thailand tops the list of all ten preferred destinations. The reasons cited are: Basic Requirement (connection hub, international standard accommodation, and great facilities); Delight Factors (great hospitality and delicious local cuisine); Unique Experience (culture & heritage and abundance of nature). Furthermore, the destination also offers a wide variety of activities beyond MICE, such as good accessibility to/from destination, abundant business opportunities, and the uniqueness.

Receiving continuously growing visitors, how does TCEB react to evolving MICE market today?

Yoswee: To adapt to changing business landscape and shifting business demands, TCEB is now transforming our role which is guided by our new branding “Thailand Redefine Your Business Events” Our new roles are co-creator of business opportunities, partner in finding creative solutions for MICE, collaborator to create an ideal ecosystem for MICE and thought-leaders in sparking new ideas and introducing innovation for MICE industry. The aim is to generate higher return on investment and return on time for overseas clients. For the partner role, we have now designed support scheme to help the collaboration or joint venture between Thai and overseas organizers in staging trade shows in Thailand.

Thailand is an active practitioner in building industry standards. Could you share some examples?

Yoswee: In Thailand, we have been spearheading the development of standard and professionalism of the industry through the introduction of ISO management, sustainability practice, MICE venue standard for suppliers and MICE curriculum for educational institutions.

Today, 31 Thai venue operators are now management ISO accredited. Meeting rooms of 363 venue operators, 6 exhibition halls and 16 special venues in Thailand have now been certified with Thailand MICE Venue Standard (TMVS), which has now been adopted by the Meeting of ASEAN Tourism Minister as ASEAN MICE Venue Standard (AMVS). 110 educational institutions in Thailand have adopted and introduced MICE curriculum which will feed future MICE generation to the industry. Besides, Thailand has now been partner of UFI, IAPCO, MPI, SITE in introducing MICE professional certification programs, for example CEM, CMP, EMD, CIS (Certified Incentive Specialists) etc. to Thailand and the region, making Thailand ASEAN hub of MICE education. Currently Thailand has the highest number of CIS graduates in Asia.

What is the situation of Thai MICE industry in terms of international cooperation?

Yoswee: TCEB is now focusing on deepening international partnership and collaboration within the industry. We have been active member of several international organizations, such as ICCA, UIA, UFI, SITE, PCMA. Playing host to global and regional events of all MICE sectors, including SITE Global Conference 2019, UIA Asia Pacific Roundtable 2019 and UFI Global Congress 2019, which is a strong demonstration of TCEB’s role as a partner dedicated to driving the development of the industry. In exhibition, we have support scheme for collaboration between Thai and overseas organizers to stage trade shows in Thailand.

What are your expectation or concrete purposes for the upcoming 2019 UFI Asia-Pacific Conference?

Yoswee: TCEB aims to showcase growth opportunities for international trade fairs in Thailand, especially in 10 key Industries under Thailand 4.0 policy, and demonstrates Thailand as a central exhibition platform of ASEAN or a platform to access wider market beyond Thailand for overseas organizers, in other words, to show the capacity of Thailand in driving growth through exhibition at the regional level. Moreover, TCEB is creating window of opportunities for Thai organizers to learn international perspectives at UFI Congress.

On 6–9 November this year, Thailand will host the UFI Global Congress in 2019. We have now selected the venue which is The Avani Hotel located on the bank of the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, which we believe will provide the spectacular setting for the delegates.



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