The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organization) introduced the ‘Thailand CONNECT’ brand in the U.S. market last week at IMEX America in Vegas. TCEB’s latest global marketing campaign targets buyers from around the world, focusing on Thailand’s three key industry pillars: a diversity of destinations, unrivalled business opportunities, and the high quality of Thailand’s MICE professionals. In 2014 Thailand expects to attract 987,000 MICE travelers from overseas, with revenues reaching Baht 96.9 billion ($3.2 billion).

Continuing its strategic importance to Thailand’s MICE industry, the U.S. MICE market is positioned within the Top 10 MICE visitors from around the world during the first three quarters of the 2013 fiscal year (October 2012 – June 2013). As of June 2013, the number of U.S. MICE travelers to Thailand had already reached 27,900, surpassing the total U.S. visitors in 2012 at 26,684. The majority of U.S. MICE visitors was from the meetings and conventions sub-segments.

Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, TCEB’s President, said, “The U.S. MICE market is one of the prominent markets from around the world that helps TCEB maintain its growth. TCEB will work together with our Thai team counterparts in bringing together the most profitable MICE platform for both buyers and visitors from the United States. With the ever-changing competition in the MICE industry, Thailand will continue to adjust and reposition itself to stay atop of the global market place.”

According to the latest findings from the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Report, the U.S. is in the leadership position for association meetings during 2008 – 2012. This presents TCEB with an opportunity to further penetrate into the U.S. conventions sub-segment category.

“For 2014, TCEB’s promotion of Thailand’s MICE sector will continue under the Five-Year Master Plan (2012-2016), with its three fundamental strategies – WIN, PROMOTE and DEVELOP.  TCEB will promote development and global visibility of the Thailand brand through its new campaign: ‘Thailand CONNECT: Your Global Business Events Connection,’ in line with TCEB’s Growth Driver brand development,” Maythaveekulchai continued.

The Thailand CONNECT campaign focuses on three strengths:

  1. Diversity of Destinations. Thailand’s strategic location in the heart of Asia, together with convenient facilities and infrastructure, offers visitors an unrivalled choice of destinations. Thailand’s six international airports connect to 190 destinations worldwide with more than 500 flights per day. With nine purpose-built international conference and exhibition venues, the combined total exhibition space of 222,984 square meters is the highest in the region. Thailand’s five officially designated ‘MICE Cities’ (Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen) offer unbeatable diversity of choice for MICE events of any type and scale.
  2. Unrivaled Business Opportunities. With fast and convenient connections to all other countries in the region, ASEAN’s second largest economy is poised to play a leading role in the forthcoming unified regional market of the ASEAN Economic Community, or AEC, in 2015. Economic integration will remove trade barriers and bring free transfer of goods, services, skilled labor, trade and investment among ASEAN members and its population of almost 600 million. Thailand is itself a major production and export base for key industries such as automotive and industrial components, computers and IT, energy, rubber and plastics. Adding to its strategic significance as a gateway to ASEAN, Thailand’s bilateral free trade agreements with 11 countries around the world will further reinforce Thailand’s strategic importance within this vast unified market.
  3. High Quality Professionals. In addition to its legendary hospitality and quality of service, Thailand’s MICE industry has led the world in introducing global standards such as Energy Management (ISO 50001), Food Safety Management System (ISO 22000), MICE Security Management System (TISI 22300), and most recently, the new Event Sustainability Management System (ISO 20121). Thailand’s MICE sector has been boosted by accolades and awards from leading agencies, and Thailand is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top MICE event destinations. For example, in 2012, ICCA ranked Thailand as the ASEAN No. 1 by number of international meetings, while UFI ranked Thailand No. 1 by number of exhibitions space sold. Also, Thailand hosted a total of 7,382 MICE events, including prestigious global mega-events such as the 2012 Rotary International Convention, World Stamp 2013, the 65th World Newspaper Congress,    ITU World, Telecom 2013 and World Marketing Forum 2014.

Together with the Thailand CONNECT campaign, TCEB is also launching the latest advertising campaign for 2014, reflecting the philosophy of promoting business cooperation, both within Thailand and across the Asian region, and successful business agreements. The campaign incorporates a number of exciting market promotion packages to support MICE business success under the Thailand CONNECT Exclusive umbrella.

  1. CONNECT Destinations: For meetings and incentive travel groups, TCEB offers financial support of Baht 200,000 or approximately $6,660 for events with more than 200 participants. Participants must stay at least five nights in Thailand, including an overnight stay in at least one other province apart from the main meeting location.
  2. CONNECT People: For international conferences, TCEB offers unique event support for promotional activities conducted in the ASEAN+6 countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, India, Taiwan and China (including Hong Kong and Macau).
  3. CONNECT Business: For international exhibitions, TCEB offers special support for business matching activities for trade visitor groups of 15 or more delegates from ASEAN+6 and BIMSTEC countries, who travel to attend TCEB-supported international events in Thailand. To qualify for special support of $150 per person, the groups must stay a minimum of three days/two nights, with at least 45 business matching appointments. Each participant will need at least three business matchmaking appointments; for groups with fewer than 45 appointments in total, the level of support will be $100 per person.

“The MICE industry has always played a key role in driving the broader economy, earning revenues of approximately 80 billion baht or about $2.66 billion per year. I believe that the Thailand CONNECT campaign, as well as our many other market promotion activities, will help drive further MICE sector growth. In 2014, TCEB forecasts growth of five percent in MICE travelers, to a total of 987,000 visitors by year-end, with revenues up 10 percent to Baht      96.9 billion, or $3.26 billion. Focusing on the U.S. market, we expect a five percent increase for both number of MICE travelers and revenue, to a total of 29,400 visitors, and Baht 2,625 million or approximately $87.5 million,” Maythaveekulchai concluded.

During the 2013 fiscal year, from October 2012 to August 2013, Thailand welcomed 993,072 MICE travelers, with revenues of over 86,280 billion baht ($2.87 billion). Top MICE visitors were from the conventions industry (318,663 visitors), followed by incentives travelers (247,888 visitors), corporate meetings (237,701 visitors) and exhibitions (188,820 visitors).