Thailand destinations offer choice

MEETINGS, incentives, conventions and exhibitions business is still operating actively in Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and other destinations around Thailand despite the floods affecting parts of Bangkok and surrounding provinces in the country's central region.

Events including the Asia Pacific Gulf Summit 2011, held in Pattaya from October 31 to November 6, the Nokia group, held in Pattaya from November 13 to December 9,  the Amway group, held in Chiang Mai from November 10 to November 26, and the Daikin group, held in Bangkok from November 22 to November 24, went on unaffected.

Most of Thailand's international airports are still operating normally, including Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok's main international gateway, located East of Bangkok on the way to Pattaya, and those operating in the country's south (Phuket, Hat Yai and Samui) and north (Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai).

Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) president Akapol Sorasuchart said the variety of destinations Thailand has to offer helps mitigate the impact of the floods affecting the Bangkok area.

"Also, thanks to steps we are taking with the cooperation from the industry, we expect that Thailand's MICE business will remain stable for the entire fiscal 2012 as most events affected by the situation have been rescheduled to next quarter."

In the fiscal year 2011, which ended September 30, Thailand's meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions sector attracted 720,000 business travellers and generated 57.6 billion baht (US$1.85 billion) in revenue, compared respectively to 679,585 travellers and 55 billion baht in fiscal 2010.

The floods currently affecting Bangkok and some other central provinces along the Chao Phraya River are the worst to hit the country in over 50 years. Overall, 14 MICE events, mostly tradeshows planned to be held in and around Bangkok this quarter, were affected with revenue losses estimated at 2.98 billion baht and a MICE visitors shortfall estimated at 96,000. The impact of the floods on domestic transportation in the Bangkok area has led organisers to reschedule events due to concerns over participant numbers.

One airport, Don Mueang, located in the northern area of the capital and mostly used for domestic flights is closed since last week due to the floods. Operations were temporarily relocated to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

As part of its immediate and medium-term action plans to mitigate the crisis, and in line with its 'Believe in Thailand' campaign, TCEB will provide updated information to all MICE industry stakeholders, as well as marketing support and technical assistance in various areas for events that have been rescheduled, especially large-scale events such as the International Horticultural Exposition Ratchaphruek 2011 (November 2011 to February 2012); the Lanna 750 Years, Chiang Rai (January 2012) and the BOI Fair (January 2012).

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