MICE activities must go on: Thai industry

THE Thai minister of tourism and sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, is urging business events in Thailand to proceed as planned as the country mourns the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej last Thursday.

“(The King’s passing) will not have any impact on tourism. Thailand (itself) will proceed with its promotion activities for the sustainable development of the tourism industry according to King Bhumibol’s wish,” Kobkarn said.

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) will maintain its participation in IMEX America this week, but will drop performances from its programme at the show.

While business events, such as roadshows, seminars and meetings, can take place as planned, Kobkarn said some events, especially those involving outdoor entertainment, should be suspended for the next 30 days.

Bangkok’s 18th International Festival Dance & Music, for instance, has been postponed, “as everyone was not in a celebratory mood”, shared TCEB vice president Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya.

PK Exhibition Management, organiser of the massive domestic tourism fair Thai Tiew Thai, will proceed with the event on November 3-6, but will call off performances.

Krit Pattarapan, managing director of PK Exhibition Management, told TTGmice e-Weekly that Thai Tiew Thai will also adopt a different theme – Sufficiency Economy, a philosophy conceived and developed by King Bhumibol.

Sumate Sudasna, president of Thailand Incentive & Convention Association, said the Thai government has sought the cooperation of the private sector to abide by the mourning period do’s and don’ts, particularly the suspension of entertainment activities for 30 days.

However, Sumate believes that this will not negatively impact Thailand’s MICE business, as the people’s unity in demonstrating love and respect for King Bhumibol reflects the country’s culture and character, which will “benefit Thai tourism”.

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