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Mice Asia Net : October 2008
thailand thailand taste of Story by Johanna Mc Kinnon Spicy, exotic, unique and enticing: the perfect event destination. hailand is a diverse mix of culture, exquisite surrounds and bustling city life. With remote rainforest, picturesque islands and the lively metropolis of Bangkok, event planners are spoilt for choice in Thailand. Whether it’s team-building with elephant rides and bamboo rafting in the dense rainforest of Chiang Mai or post-touring on a snorkelling trip in Koh Chang, Thailand has it all for corporate groups. And it seems event planners are getting a taste of Thailand, which has seen a growth in delegate numbers over the last 12 months. The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau has been a pivotal body in promoting Thailand as a MICE destination and over the last four years of operation has reported double-digit growth in this sector. For 2007 TCEB reported on US$1.6 billion generated from the business events industry and a 19 per cent increase in delegate numbers from 2006. ICCA has ranked Thailand first in convention and exhibition space sold in the Asean region and fourth in the world’s top 10 most popular long-haul destinations for meetings and incentive travel. TCEB is expecting continued growth for this year, predicting more than 900,000 MICE visitors to Thailand, which will generate US$2 billion of revenue. Known as the land of smiles, TCEB is planning to leverage on the country’s renowned hospitality to attract the MICE market in combination with promoting its world-class infrastructure and facilities. In terms of infrastructure, Bangkok sports the largest airport passenger terminal in the world. International corporate groups flying into the airport can make the most of the ‘MICE Fast Track’ through customs. The specially designed immigration counters have been a recent addition for international delegates and facilitate a quick passage through what usually is a time-consuming process. ‘Thai Team, Thai Theme’ is another TCEB initiative which aims to foster smoother collaboration between the private sector and government agencies in an effort to reduce red-tape bureaucracy T for event organisers and exhibitors. The MICE Fast Track was one pilot project under this new initiative. And their efforts appear to be working. With more user-friendly procedures the Kingdom of Thailand is becoming more lucrative for event planners booking future events. The latest news on future bookings is Thailand is preparing to accommodate more large-scale events. Improvements in infrastructure such as the completion of the airport link in Bangkok and city check-ins, due to open in early 2009, are bound to influence the decisions of international event planners. As well as transport improvements there are also more hotel developments in the works with an additional 3500 hotel rooms being built this year and more expected in 2010. So whether you are thinking of hosting your next event in Thailand this year or in the near future, the good news is the region is growing to accommodate the business events market. Key contacts Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau www.tceb.or.th DMCs Asia Heritage Travel co ltd. www.asiaheritagetravel.com Diethelm Events www.diethelmevents.com Asian Horizon Travel Consultants www.asian-horizon.com PCOs 100 Rivers co ltd www.100rivers.co.th Apex Event Solutions co ltd www.apexevent.co.th ABOVE: Rustic Charm. Courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand News Room. miceAsia.net 37