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Thailand is already beginning to recover from the recent floods that have impacted the country’s MICE industry. In order to ensure a strong and speedy recovery, the government is working closely with the private sector in implementing a cleanup plan and aims to regain international confidence through TCEB’s market promotion campaign Believe in Thailand – Thailand: Destination of “CHOICES”. These measures are expected to see Thailand back on track before the third quarter of 2012.

“Overall, 24 MICE events have been affected, with revenue losses estimated at 3.32 billion Baht (Euro 79 million) and MICE visitors down by over 250,000,” said Akapol Sorasuchart, president of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). “However, Suvarnabhumi International Airport, the main gateway to Thailand, serving 120 international and domestic airlines, has considerable flood protection measures in place. The airport has operated on schedule throughout, handling 800 flights per day, including all connecting flights to tourist destinations throughout Thailand such as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Suratthani.”

Many scheduled events have been completely unaffected. For example, the Asia Pacific Golf Summit 2011 (Pattaya, October 31 – November 6), the Nokia Incentive Group (Pattaya, November 13 – December 9), the Amway Group (Chiang Mai, November 10 – 26), and the Daikin Group (Bangkok, November 22 – 24) will all continue. Looking forward to 2012, large-scale incentive events such as Amway China (April 15 – May 15, 2012 – 15,000 visitors) will also go on as scheduled. In terms of convention events, the 2012 Rotary International Convention with around 30,000 visitors is also confirmed to be held during May 6-9, 2012.

“We expect to see a strong and rapid recovery for Thailand’s MICE sector. TCEB is working closely with other government agencies in the ‘Team Thailand’ and also with the private sector itself to implement remedial measures,” said Akapol. “We have together agreed on procedures to be implemented in three main phases from now until March 2012.”

Immediate short-term measures will focus on setting up a one-stop-centre to assist MICE travelers and facilitate provision of daily updates and factsheets to the industry and all stakeholders. In the medium term, TCEB will launch confidence-boosting activities through the Believe in Thailand – Thailand: Destination of “CHOICES” market promotion campaign. TCEB will also invite national leaders to join key events and issue statements personally or through video. The TCEB has also arranged to include additional funds to promote MICE events, enhance market promotion and give financial support for events that have not been cancelled or postponed.

“For the longer term, we have proposed for government consideration a Recovery Plan to stimulate both the international and domestic MICE market,” said Akapol. “This includes a proposal to give 300 percent tax relief on MICE expenditures, provide regular updates on progress on MICE industry’s recovery, and cooperation with the Federation of Thai Industries to provide counseling and encourage domestic tourism among those affected by the floods.”

Through close collaboration between the government and private sector, Thailand’s MICE sector will recover completely before Q3/2012. The second phase of TCEB’s Believe in Thailand: Thailand Destination of “CHOICES”– No matter which path you choose, success is sure to follow” marketing communications campaign will be a cornerstone of this recovery process.

“This theme perfectly reflects the multitude of choices, options and settings that together make Thailand a unique and perfect location for your next business event,” said Akapol. “Our goal is to ensure that every experience is unique, with more choices now and the most choices for the future. Thailand’s MICE and travel operators work to world-class standards, and will give your event the special, personalized service it requires because the diversity of options available allows you to personally design each event to maximize your success.”

Europe’s MICE market has been affected by internal and external factors, particularly the debt crisis. For the MICE industry, projections for 2011 have been revised downwards from 100,800 to 90,000 European visitors to Thailand by year-end, in light of the situations in both Europe and Thailand.

“We are confident that the Believe in Thailand campaign will help drive the MICE sector’s recovery,” said Akapol. “TCEB expects that in 2012 the number of global business travelers to Thailand will increase by approximately five percent to 750,000 visitors, with revenues of Euro 1.43 billion. Meanwhile over 102,000 visitors from Europe will come to Thailand.”

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