CHIANGMAI The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has joined eight key government and private organisations to lay a framework for the further development of Chiangmai as a world-class MICE destination.
Chiangmai is located at the center of the northern region of Thailand with easy connection to neighbouring countries. Its international airport is the third largest in the country after Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang International Airports. It handles 401 domestic flights and 76 international flights per week. During peak seasons, seven airlines, including Air Bagan, China Eastern, Korean Air, SilkAir, Thai Air Asia, China Airline and AirAsia, increase their service frequency to the destination to meet demand.
"The cooperation in setting the clear framework for developing the province as a MICE destination is a significant strategic move for the country," said acting TCEB president Thongchai Sridama at the recently concluded Chiangmai MICE Summit. "Generally, spending per head of MICE travellers is two to three times higher than general travellers. More importantly, there is no season and MICE can generate income all year round."
He added that the involvement of local organisations bodes well for the five-year Chiangmai MICE Destination Master Plan. "Lessons learned from other countries showed that the success of a MICE city is driven by local people and administration, with the support from the central government."
Joining TCEB in this initiative are the Chiangmai Province, the Chiangmai Provincial Administration, Chiangmai Chamber of Commerce, Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, the Office of Commercial Affairs Chiangmai, TAT Chiangmai Office, Chiangmai Creative City and Chiang Mai University.
"Despite its huge economic potential, most people still know Chiangmai only as a cultural tourism destination," noted Chiangmai governor Thanin Supasaen. "Our effort to draw a concrete master plan and clear strategy will surely promote development in all areas and generate more income to business operators and the locals throughout the year."
The five-year master plan is divided in three phases. In Phase I, which starts this year, will target domestic MICE while existing infrastructure is being improved as various eduction campaigns will be introduced. The second phase between 2014 to 2015 will extend the promotion of business events to cover regional cooperation blocks.
"The rapid development of regional cooperation framework, be it Asean, AEC, Greater Mekong Subregion and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, will mean more and more demand for meetings, conventions and exhibitions in the member countries," noted Narong Kongprasert, president of Chiangmai Chamber of Commerce. "Being the center of the region, Chiang Mai will be able to become a key mechanism in driving the country's competitive advantages in the global market."
The third phase from 2016 to 2017 will focus on promoting Chiangmai as a global MICE city with the capability of handling the world's mega events.