Forward bookings for Bangkok shaky

MANY Asian MICE groups due to travel to Bangkok during this season have stuck to their bookings, although demand for next year has taken a beating.

Malaysia-based Rakyat Travel’s general manager, Adam Kamal, said he is handling four incentive groups to Bangkok this month and at press time, there are no cancellations.

“The protests are away from tourist areas, it has not affected flights and the Thai government has taken a softer approach this time, so incentive groups are not worried,” he explained. However, his company has not received any new bookings to Bangkok for next year.

Similarly, Panorama Tours Malaysia managing director, Richard Vuilleumier, said the company has no new MICE bookings to Bangkok for next year. His two Bangkok-bound incentive groups have diverted to Vietnam, fearful the airport might close.

Over in Singapore, Alicia Seah, marketing communications director, Dynasty Travel, said: “It is logistically more challenging for groups to cancel their plans there because they have already pre-booked meeting and accommodation venues in large quantities.” The agency currently has three corporate groups in Bangkok.

Singapore-based World Express also just handled an incentive group in Bangkok two weeks ago. Managing director, Darren Tan, said: “It is not the first time we are seeing such unrest in Bangkok and we know it is not targeted at tourists, so it is still considered safe.”

There has also been little impact on Indonesian outbound.

Panorama Tours Indonesia managing director, corporate incentive management, Vidya Hermanto, said: “I have a group scheduled for December 6. They actually wanted to move to another destination, but if they did, the hotels in Bangkok would charge cancellation fee.”

Indonesia-based managing director, Elgin Agrigento, added: “MNCs are taking a wait-and-see stand…Many Indonesians know Thailand and are well informed enough to know that the rally does not affect tourist spots.”

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