Sumate Sudasna

As we move into the New Year, I believe this is a fitting time to reflect on the achievements that we, as MICE stakeholders, have been able to achieve in 2019. Over time, Thailand’s business events industry has matured, transforming the nation into a MICE destination recognised for its advantages that encompass diverse venues and attractions, value-for-money, ease of accessibility, and the world-famous hospitality of Thai people.

In addition to accounting for 3% of Thailand’s GDP, the growth of the MICE industry is also reflected in the number of annual MICE visitors, which has surpassed the 34 million mark of 2018 with over 1.3 million international travellers. Moreover, the nation jumped to the 21st spot from 46th on the list of easiest countries to do business, and is one of the world’s top 10 countries for air traffic. These statistics offer merely a glimpse at the potential that Thailand’s bourgeoning MICE industry holds.

Moving forward, the joint vision of all stakeholders is to develop Thailand as a centre of business events. As a result, various initiatives have been employed by TICA and other authoritative bodies in the MICE sphere to develop infrastructure, trade, technology, and sustainability. Notable examples include the APAC MaxiMICE campaign in conjunction with TCEB and Thai Airways, which is designed to attract corporate customers in the Asia-Pacific region by offering privileges related to airfare and incentive schemes.

This campaign directly links with the target markets of China and India, as despite the global economic slowdown, tourism from India continues to gain momentum, with the number of visitors growing by 26.7% annually. Similarly, Chinese visitor numbers will increase by 6.9%. The campaign will also play a role attracting more short-haul visitors from nations like Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Korea, as the country continues to shift, becoming a more expensive option for long haul markets like USA and Europe.

Innovation will also be a defining concept for the future of Thailand’s MICE industry. In addition to initiatives like the comprehensive TCEB MICE Intelligence & Resource Centre and the launch of Bizconnect, Thailand is gearing up to become a ‘smart city’ with commercial 5G wireless being introduced at both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, before they are adopted nationwide. Improved data systems will ease the strain of visitor influx, and enhance attendee experience.

It is evident that Thailand remains in an advantageous position to continue growing into a globally-recognised destination for business events. I am proud of the efforts of TICA, its diverse membership with high volunteer spirit, and other MICE stakeholders for their positive contributions this year. However, we must not become complacent. I urge all of us to continue working together in order to strengthen the nation’s reputation as a business events capital, and to ensure that we are able to adapt for what is in store in the future. To conclude, on behalf of TICA I would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.

Sumate Sudasna
Thailand Incentive and Convention Association

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