BANGKOK, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- After a highly successful 2012 which beat industry targets, Thailand's MICE industry is poised for another dynamic year ahead. Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), a Public Organization, has revised its annual target for 2013, and is now projecting an ambitious 10% growth in MICE visitor numbers this year. As the government's central agency responsible for coordinating and driving Thailand's MICE sector, TCEB expects to accomplish this via three strategies - to penetrate new markets, build strategic alliances and position the industry to compete effectively in the forthcoming single market of the AEC. TCEB expects to welcome more than 940,000 MICE visitors to Thailand this year, boosting revenues by 88 billion baht, equivalent to US$ 2.93 billion.
Mr Thongchai Sridama, TCEB's Acting President, disclosed: "Last year, TCEB's efforts to boost Thailand's MICE industry bore fruit, with 895,224 MICE visitors, and industry revenues of 79.8 billion baht (US$ 2.66 billion). In view of this excellent performance and analysis of the prospects for 2013, we have revised this year's targets upwards by approximately 10% compared with our original estimates. This translates into an increase from the original 2013 target of 792,000 MICE visitors to 940,000 MICE visitors in 2013. Projected Industry revenues too have been revised upwards from 63.9 billion Baht (US$ 2.13 billion) to 88 billion Baht (US$ 2.93 billion).
Thailand's MICE industry is a major economic driver, contributing 8.95 percent of the country's overall tourism market, and 0.6% of national GDP. In 2013, the meetings industry is expected to attract 231,000 visitors or 25% of the total sector; incentive travel will account for 229,800 visitors, or 24% of international MICE visitors. International Conventions will account for over 306,600 MICE travelers, or 33% of the total, with international exhibitions accounting for 172,600 visitors, or 18 percent of the total MICE visitors in 2013."
Continuing, Mr Thongchai added, "In line with the upward adjustment of our targets for this year, TCEB has developed three new strategic thrusts to accomplish our new organizational role and mandate as the growth driver for Thailand's MICE industry. Starting from our role as a strategic business ally for private sector operators, and in providing creative leadership for the industry, our first strategy focuses on market development, both domestic and overseas, with an emphasis on emerging markets. For the international market, we aim to develop the potential of second tier cities in these countries, especially high-growth economic hubs. For example, in India, we are promoting incentive tourism in the cities of Coimbatore, Mangalore and Pune, building on our longstanding presence in the major cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. In China too, we have expanded from our traditional major markets of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou to the fast-growing economic hub of Guangdong; and in Myanmar we are now actively working in the coastal city of Dawei, which is currently enjoying unprecedented growth, driven by construction of a deep-sea port, an industrial zone, together with urban developments and resorts. Dawei will serve as a key trade linkage connecting Bangladesh, China, India and Thailand, and enhancing Thailand's competitiveness and investment potential. For the domestic MICE industry, we plan to develop new 'MICE Cities' including Khon Kaen and Had Yai; both are major provincial centres with dedicated convention venues and hotels; MICE activities in these cities mainly serve the thriving local business communities. TCEB is working closely with the private sector to ensure integration and effective implementation of market promotion plans at the sector level, and further boost the status of these important MICE Cities.
"The second approach is to expand TCEB's network of strategic alliances, in line with our mandate to strengthen industry linkages and stimulate growth. In the international market TCEB has joined hands with several international MICE agencies to develop new products and services and set industry standards. Our partners include the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO) as well as Meeting Professionals International (MPI). This year TCEB will collaborate with industry bodies to organize seminars for MICE operators in Thailand and in the region; for example we have cooperated in organizing seminars at the IT&CMA and CTW Asia Pacific 2013 trade show events, and worked together with the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) to organize Green MICE events to raise awareness and encourage industry compliance with environmental standards. Thailand has been positioned as a Green Meetings destination to the members of these associations.
"With regards to Thailand's domestic MICE market, TCEB is expanding its airline partnerships with Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air and Air Asia, etc. The aim is to organize activities to boost the domestic MICE market during the low-season (May to August). We have together developed special promotional packages aimed at corporate clients organizing MICE events in Thailand. The packages include special discount airfares, accommodation packages and visits to Royal Project initiatives for MICE event participants.
"The third approach is to accelerate implementation of TCEB's programs to improve the industry's readiness for the single regional market of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This is in line with our organizational role in elevating professional standards and enhancing human resource capacity in the industry. TCEB has established a number of joint activities with the Thailand Exhibition Association (TEA), the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA) and the Thai Hotels Association (THA), along with the Department of Trade Negotiations (Ministry of Commerce), the Department of Tourism (Ministry of Tourism and Sports), and the ASEAN Department (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The activities share a common objective to prepare Thailand's private sector MICE industry to compete more effectively within the AEC regional economic framework. The activities also offer MICE professionals with a deeper understanding of the implications, challenges and opportunities brought by regional integration. Within TCEB, four separate plans are to be urgently implemented: the first plan will report the findings of a study of the potential of the MICE industry under the AEC (a 'MICE Health Check'. Secondly, to develop two MICE curricula aimed at preparing the private sector for economic integration, and including an operation manual to help SMEs, entrepreneurs and professionals and MICE businesses. An English-language MICE curriculum will also be developed for MICE operators, divided into four parts: (a) convention and exhibition venues; (b) hotels; (c) event management; and d) MICE professional services. The third plan will organize regular professional training programs for MICE operators located in MICE Cities around the country. The fourth plan will establish a MICE industry working group, including public relations activities aimed at building awareness of the implications and opportunities for MICE operators under the AEC.
"Together these plans are designed to provide our MICE industry with the tools to compete effectively under the new economic regime. To support this effort, TCEB has launched an initiative for overseas Thai MICE operators, offering a 24-hour training course to update Thai MICE professionals with the latest information and analyses. The initiative will begin in four key countries considered by MICE operators as key MICE investment targets: Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia (together known as LMVI). The courses will offer participants information, analyses and advice concerning guidelines for investing in LMVI, skills necessary for development of Thailand's MICE industry, at the same time offering excellent networking opportunities.
"We are confident that by adjusting our own organizational strategies as I've discussed above, TCEB can give a major boost to Thailand's MICE industry and enhance its capability to compete effectively in the regional arena. We firmly believe the MICE industry has the potential to make an even stronger contribution to the national economy; TCEB's new approach reflects our new organizational paradigm and approach as the driver of growth for Thailand's MICE industry. Our aim is to build expertise, build business alliances and build success, helping Thailand compete on the global stage," said Mr Thongchai, in conclusion.
For more information, please contact:
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau
Ms Arisara Thanuplang
Mr Sumet Kanchanapan
Ms Atichit Akkarakittikul
SOURCE Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau