Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau president, Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, speaks of the country’s MICE triumphs and a 2014 further strengthened by strong partnerships.
by Sirima Eamtako
What’s TCEB biggest achievement since its inception in 2004?
TCEB has helped stimulate the growth of the MICE sector, which saw a 73.7 per cent increase in the number of visitors and a 150 per cent increase in revenue since 2004. We have attracted more than eight million MICE visitors to the country, generating total revenues of 517,915 million baht (US$16 billion).
This year, we are proud of our latest milestone of surpassing the one million MICE visitor benchmark, welcoming 1,013,502 business travellers to Thailand and injecting revenues of 88,485 million baht into our economy.
What’s the synergy between TCEB’s role and other tourism-related government agencies in Thailand?
TCEB takes the lead on behalf of the Thai Government in the development and success of Thailand’s MICE sector. TCEB strives to create new business opportunities and lay the foundation for long term, sustainable industry growth.
We have developed a strategic alliance between entities of both public and private sectors, including Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand Incentive and Convention Association, Tourism Council of Thailand, Airports of Thailand, and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
What are some recurring challenges for TCEB and how are they tackled?
With the rise of MICE within the region and beyond, TCEB strives to attract more business events to Thailand and elevate its reputation for excellence as a quality Asian MICE destination.
To achieve this, the 2014 MICE Promotion Strategic Plan will incorporate insights and recommendations from both public and private sectors, and take into account the latest global trends affecting Thailand’s overall economic growth as well as its MICE and tourism sectors.
How important is the financial support policy to attract MICE events, and how does TCEB justify the budget spent?
Financial subsidy for business events is considered one of various support initiatives that we provide organisations. Considering the annual budget we receive from the government each year, the return on investment is more than 100 times.
Beyond the MICE industry, what does TCEB do to educate and gain support from the public and non-industry organisations?
In another effort to promote domestic MICE industry, TCEB also works with a non-industry counterpart such as the Royal Initiative Discovery Foundation, with great support from Thai Airways International and THAI Smile, Bangkok Airways, AirAsia, and Nok Air. We launched the “DOMESTIC MICE: A Royal Trail Inspiration” campaign that offers several innovative pre- or post-meeting activities in 14 Royally-initiated projects in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Sakon Nakhon and Krabi.
We also promote and advocate MICE education, and work to raise awareness of MICE importance to the general public through mass media and communications programmes. We are confident that Thai people and our stakeholders have become more aware of MICE as we strive to position Thailand as the preferred MICE destination in Asia.
What is TCEB doing in preparation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015?
TCEB, together with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Department of Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Commerce and the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association, has prepared a preliminary plan:
• Create a research database on the potential impact of economic integration for the MICE industry
• Conduct an ongoing training programme for MICE players to raise awareness as well as understand opportunities and risks arising from AEC
• Establish a working group to brainstorm and explore potential strengths and weaknesses, as well as propose recommendations
• Promote and encourage MICE operators to participate by voicing their opinions as part of the dialogue on ASEAN cooperation
A programme highlight is a course entitled “ASEAN MICE Operations: Now For The Next Investment Excellence”, which will focus on the further development of Thai MICE operators, and “ASEAN We Stand” programme, aimed at cooperative promotion and networking opportunities amongst regional public and private sectors.