Thailand is targeting significant growth in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sector in 2013.
According to the latest figures from the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the country welcomed more than 895,200 MICE visitors in 2012, with the industry generating THB79.8 billion (US$2.7bn) in revenues. As a result, TCEB has now increased its targets for 2013, with delegate numbers expected to reach 940,000 and revenues forecast to hit THB88bn.
“Last year, TCEB’s efforts to boost Thailand’s MICE industry bore fruit.” said Thongchai Sridama, TCEB’s Acting President. “In view of this excellent performance and analysis of the prospects for 2013, we have revised this year’s targets upwards by approximately 10% compared with our original estimates.”
The MICE body is basing its optimism on the development of a new three-pronged growth strategy. Firstly, TCEB said it is planning to focus on market development, both domestic and overseas, with an emphasis on emerging markets.
“For the international market, we aim to develop the potential of second tier cities in these countries, especially high-growth economic hubs,” Tongchai said. “For the domestic MICE industry, we plan to develop new ‘MICE cities’ including Khon Kaen and Hat Yai – both are major provincial centres with dedicated convention venues and hotels.”
The second part of the strategy is to develop new strategic alliances, including partnerships with associations and airlines. Finally, the third element of the strategy is to boost training and HR development, including the creation of MICE-focused curricula, operations manuals and training programmes. Tongchai said such action would “improve the industry’s readiness for the single regional market of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)” in 2015.
Thailand’s MICE industry currently contributes around 9% of the country overall tourism market, and 0.6% of national GDP. In 2013 the meetings sector is expected to attract 231,000 visitors, closely followed incentive travel (229,800 visitors), international conventions (306,600) and international exhibitions (172,600).