Thailand has high hopes for MICE

THAILAND’s MICE industry believes that inbound business will continue to grow from strength to strength, provided the political situation in the country remains on its current peaceful trajectory.

Destination Asia (Thailand) managing director, Pornthip (Addie) Hirunkate, said that after the recent Thai general election, the DMC had been receiving more requests from customers, and had also managed to confirm groups that were pending.

“Clients have more confidence in Thailand,” she said. “We anticipate that there will be more confirmed groups towards the end of the year, and are expecting about 15 to 20 per cent growth in convention and incentive business.”

Creative Destination Management managing director, Sumate Sudasna, said the country could expect a 20 to 30 per cent increase in MICE business from the fourth quarter of 2011.

He said the Eastern European market was especially promising given the robust economies there, while the traditional continental European markets such as Germany and the Benelux region looked likely to rebound.

Sumate also hailed the new thrice-weekly Bangkok-Brussels service by Thai Airways International, starting November 17, as an “excellent and timely stimulant”.

Centara Hotels and Resorts sales and marketing senior vice-president, Chris Bailey, said the group’s convention hotel in Bangkok – Centara Grand at CentralWorld – had been running at full house for awhile now. He said the property would also be running at full capacity in the months ahead, based on advance bookings from domestic and regional groups.

Bailey said business in 2012 could be even better. “We expect a rebound from longhaul markets, and from Russia, China and India, where we have just opened new sales offices in St Petersburg, Beijing, Shanghai and Delhi.”

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau is expecting the Thai MICE industry to grow by 10 to 15 per cent this year, with 720,000 foreign MICE visitors and 57 billion baht in revenue. The bureau is anticipating one million visitors and more than 100 billion baht in revenue by 2015.

By Sirima Eamtako

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