Thai fam-trip success signals revival

TCEB hosts 43 buyers on 2022 Thailand MICE Familiarisation Trip to show kingdom is ready to welcome back delegates. Participants praise first event of its type for two years

THAILAND Convention and Exhibition Bureau hosted 43 “MICE entrepreneurs” from 15 markets for a week-long orientation – the first trip of its type for two years in an event designed to show the kingdom is ready to welcome back international delegates.

Participants included business event travel organisers, meeting planners, PCOs and corporate buyers from Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Britain and the United States.

Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya

TCEB president Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya said the 2022 Thailand MICE Familiarisation Trip reflected Thailand’s readiness to host face-to-face international business events again thanks to the country’s pandemic-control measures and as international travel resumed.

“We are expecting a strong rebound in Thailand’s meeting and incentive sectors in the short term, followed by a broader-based recovery in the medium term. This is mainly because of our preparedness and readiness developed during the pandemic,” Chiruit said.

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“Our MICE community has moved forward to providing better products and services and, of course, hygiene standards. We believe visitors to Thailand this year will find the experience extraordinarily rewarding.”

Delegates were shown how their events could meet sustainability requirements in Thailand. The total reduction is carbon emissions for the fam trip amounted to 6,603.19kgCO2e, which is equivalent to planting 400 trees, a TCEB spokesman said.

Meetings were organised between delegates and suppliers throughout the trip with convention centres and hotels generating six leads worth an estimated 919 million baht in revenue for events comprising 14,600 participants. TCEB said 15,580 more international meetings and incentive participants were expected from 51 leads worth 981 million baht in revenue. Total potential revenue is expected to be 1.9 billion baht, according to the bureau.

As the seven-day trip came to a close, participants cited Thailand’s “client-centric service, variety of choice and sumptuous food as Thailand’s strongest draws for international MICE” delegates.

Belgium-based PCO and owner of MediCongress, Werner van Cleemputte, said: “Over the last four days of the familiarisation trip, we have been impressed by how much Bangkok has evolved. We saw the standard for an international conference.

Thailand makes everybody want to come to a real conference and meet one another in person again
Werner van Cleemputte, MediCongress, Belgium

“Thailand is unique in how flexible the people you work with are and the technology that is available now. We know hybrid meetings are common nowadays but the spirit that you have here in Thailand makes everybody want to come to a real conference and meet one another in person again,” Van Cleemputte said.

Alexandra Goodsell, head of customer success at Sydney-based Power2Motivate, said: “Joining this fam trip definitely tells me that Thailand is so much more than just for incentives.

“There is a good variety of products that respond to many types of MICE travellers. Hotel quality and the food standards have been raised. There are a lot more hotel products and MICE venues available now. The leisure destinations are really good options for MICE travellers, especially for a younger demographic from maybe a tech company.”

We are expecting a strong rebound in Thailand’s meeting and incentive sectors in the short term, followed by a broader-based recovery in the medium term
Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, TCEB president

Mark Cochrane, Asia-Pacific director for UFI – the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, said: “During the pandemic we saw Thailand endeavour to improve its service quality. Event organisers had to put in place new processes to overcome problems caused by Covid-19.

“Now Thailand is putting more emphasis on customer-oriented services such as the Thailand Pass, which can be considered an expansion of Thailand’s strengths in efficient servicing. This has benefited event organisers who are really the core to any successful exhibition.”

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TCEB president Chiruit added: “The feedback we received from participants reaffirms our view that public-private sector collaboration is key to communicating Thailand’s unique selling points to overseas audience.

“TCEB is mindful of the need to shift our focus from helping our industry survive Covid-19 to helping them achieve product rejuvenation and new competitiveness at this juncture,” he said.

“With the recovery of international MICE in sight, I am glad that TCEB’s familiarisation trip has been able to impress upon our participants that after more opening of international travel, Thailand remains a high-trust destination with outstanding products and services.”

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