The recently re-elected president of the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA) feels the association remains a relevant key MICE driver following a shift in focus.
Compiled by SIRIMA EAMTAKO
What is TICA?
TICA was established in 1984, and has been playing an important role in marketing Thailand. Before the establishment of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), we have attended tradeshows and attracted MICE events on behalf of the country. Our funding comes from membership fees with a matching dollar from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and subsequently a fixed allocation from TCEB.
Is TICA still relevant now that TCEB is in the picture?
Of course! We are committed to our members. With TCEB in the picture, we have shifted our role to training. Our Executive Committee members comprise industry veterans and are committed to their “non-pay” tasks.
To name a few, we have general manager of Regent Resort Cha am – Hua Hin Prachoom Tantiprasertsuk to oversee marketing activities, general manager of Plaza Athenee Bangkok, A Royal Meridien Hotel Goh Choo Leng to lead services development, and our home-grown young entrepreneur Max Jantasuwan to lend his expertise at PR and membership tasks.
What’s on the card for TICA in your third term (2013-2015) as president?
We are pushing TICA to elevate our training activity on a macro scale. Starting with the bi-annual Convention Promotion Seminar (CPS), we plan to organise two specific events for local host committees from two sectors – meetings and events, and conventions. We also plan to increase our digital marketing activities, and we are in the process of sourcing for funds and determining how to use a minimum amount for maximum benefit.
What’s in it for TICA members, and in turn, for the Thai MICE industry?
With seven or eight seminars conducted by experienced MICE industry professionals every year, focusing on topics such as marketing, sales and development, our members can apply the lessons learnt in their work.
Our CPS event can be considered an indirect marketing approach because we train selected local host committees on how to bid for events to be held in Thailand. The last CPS was held in Chiang Mai in 2011 for 120 delegates. The next one is due this year in September in Phuket.
What are your concerns when TICA organises trainings and seminars?
That those attending our events are not the decision makers. If we organise training programmes that offer best practices on how to handle certain markets, the methods will never be applied if the decision makers do not attend and continue to use a single approach to all markets. Hence, we try to encourage our members to send decision makers to our trainings and seminars.
What are the challenges and opportunities for the MICE industry in Thailand?
The global financial situation seems to be in a status quo at the moment, and if it continues for the next six months, we should see the market coming back by
fall or winter. Thailand will continue to be one of the most preferred MICE destinations as long as our political situation remains stable.