Latest edition of IT&CMA in Bangkok in early October tries to give a
sense of optimism to an activity which has probably seen the biggest
contraction in recent months. Business travel has been indeed severely
battered by budget cuts in both travel and marketing expenses. For
Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media –the organiser of
IT&CMA- the sector of MICE still shows in Asia more resilience than in
many other parts of the world as many countries continue to move
forward to provide new first class facilities and attractions for
travellers. For Ng, the opening of new integrated resorts in Singapore
or in Macau or the inauguration of a new convention centre in Kuching
in Sarawak are the testimony that Asia continues to strongly invest in
the future of the business travel industry. Numbers of delegates at
IT&CMA/CTW 2009 prove also the industry strong will to move up: the
event recorded some 28% more buyers and corporate travel managers with
a total of 435 delegates. Some 265 exhibitors attended as well the
show. Talking to some of the exhibitors, they mostly see recovery on
the horizon. However the pace of this recovery should remain relatively
slow at least during the first half of 2010…
In this cautious optimism mood, Thailand is back on the MICE scene with
a new initiative “Thailand Maximize”. The initiative has been launched
to support MICE organizers and corporate planning managers to stage a
conference or an incentive travel in Thailand. A key factor to the
program is the possibility for organizers to benefit from a marketing,
operational and financial support from the Thai Government through
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). “In surveys, Thailand
is appreciated as a MICE destination for its value for money, its
friendly locals as well as the authenticity of the destination, its
nightlife and shopping. This positive perception helps us to set very
clear growth objectives,” explains Malinee Kitapanich, Director of the
TCEB. We want to attract 15% more MICE travellers in 2010 which would
translate into some 407,000 MICE visitors”.
For the last fiscal year running from October 2008 to September 2009,
TCEB gave its support 248 events, most of them for Asian originated
groups. “We spent some US$ 1.1 million which helped us to attract to
Thailand 60,000 delegates and participants,” adds Kitapanich. “Maximize
Thailand” programm does not only help MICE organisers from a financial
perspective. It also wants to show Thailand creativity to conceive a
successful event. “ We have unusual venues such as old temples or
villas, parks, shopping centres where we can organize unforgettable
events. We also launched a Corporate Social Responsibility Programs
where we encourage participants to fund three charities that we
selected for their strong commitment,” tells Kitapanish.
Thailand is sure to be back as a favourite MICE destination in 2010.
The last IT&CMA edition proved that despite various crisis affecting
the Kingdom, Thailand retains its attractive power.