Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), which aims to enhance the impact of Thailand’s MICE industry on the Thai economy, introduced the Thailand CONNECT brand to the U.S. market.
This global marketing campaign targets international buyers, focusing on Thailand’s three key industry pillars: diversity of destinations, business opportunities and Thailand’s MICE professionals. In 2014, Thailand expects 987,000 MICE travelers from overseas, with revenues reaching Baht 96.9 billion (US$3.2 billion).
As of June 2013, the number of U.S. MICE travelers to Thailand reached 27,900, surpassing U.S. visitors in 2012 at 26,684. The majority of U.S. MICE visitors were from the meetings and conventions sub-segments.
“The U.S. MICE market is one of the [most] prominent around the world; TCEB will maintain its growth,” said Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, president, TCEB. “TCEB will work with our Thai team in bringing the most profitable MICE platform for buyers and visitors from the [U.S.]. With the ever-changing competition in the MICE, Thailand will have to adjust and reposition to stay atop of the global market place.”
According to an International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) report, the U.S. topped the leadership position of association meetings during 2008-2012. This presented TCEB with an opportunity to further penetrate into the U.S. conventions sub-segment category.
“For 2014, TCEB’s promotion of Thailand’s MICE sector will continue under the 5-Year Master Plan, with its three fundamental strategies – win, promote and develop. TCEB will promote development and global visibility of the Thailand brand through its new campaign: ‘Thailand CONNECT: Your Global Business Events Connection,’ – in line with TCEB’s Growth Driver brand development,” he added.
The Thailand CONNECT campaign focuses on three strengths:
Diversity of Destinations. Thailand’s strategic location at the heart of Asia, together with convenient facilities and infrastructure, offer visitors a choice destination. Thailand’s six international airports across the country connect to 190 destinations worldwide with over 500 flights per day. With nine purpose-built international conference and exhibition venues, the combined total exhibition space of 222,984 square meters is the highest in the region. Thailand’s five officially designated MICE Cities – Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen – offer diversity of choice or MICE events of any type and scale.
Business Opportunities. With fast and convenient connections to all other countries in the region, Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) second largest economy is poised to play a leading role in the forthcoming unified regional market of the ASEAN Economic Community, or AEC in 2015. Economic integration will remove trade barriers and bring free transfer of goods, services, skilled labor, trade and investment among ASEAN members and its population of almost 600 million. Thailand is a major production and export base for key industries, such as automotive and industrial components, computers and IT, energy, rubber and plastics. Thailand’s bilateral free trade agreements with 11 countries around the world will further reinforce its strategic importance within this vast unified market.
MICE Professionals. Thailand’s MICE industry has led the world in introducing global standards, such as Energy Management (ISO 50001), Food Safety Management System (ISO 22000), MICE Security Management System (TISI 22300) and, most recently, the new Event Sustainability Management System (ISO 20121). Thailand’s MICE sector has been boosted by accolades and awards from leading agencies, and Thailand is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top MICE event destinations. In 2012, ICCA ranked Thailand as ASEAN No. 1 by number of international meetings while UFI ranked Thailand No. 1 by number of exhibitions space sold. Also, Thailand hosted a total of 7,382 MICE events, including the 2012 Rotary International Convention, World Stamp 2013, the 65th World Newspaper Congress, ITU World, Telecom 2013, and World Marketing Forum 2014.
Together with the Thailand CONNECT campaign, the Bureau’s 2014 campaign reflects the philosophy of promoting business cooperation, both within Thailand and across the Asian region, and successful business agreement. The campaign incorporates market promotion packages to support MICE business success under the ‘Thailand CONNECT Exclusive’ scheme.
CONNECT Destinations: For meetings and incentive travel groups, TCEB offers financial support of Baht 200,000 or approximately US$ 6,660 for events with more than 200 participants. Participants must stay at least five nights in Thailand, including an overnight stay in at least one other province apart from the main meeting location.
CONNECT People: For international conferences, TCEB offers event support for promotional activities conducted in ASEAN and six other countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, India, Taiwan and China, which includes Hong Kong and Macau.
CONNECT Business: For international exhibitions, TCEB offers support for business-matching activities for trade visitor groups of 15 or more delegates from ASEAN, six other countries and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries, who attend TCEB-supported international events in Thailand. To qualify for special support of US$ 150 per person, the groups must stay a minimum of three days and two nights, with at least 45 business matching appointments. Each participant will need at least three business matchmaking appointments; for groups with less than 45 appointments, the level of support will be US$ 100 per person.