India topped Meetings Incentives Exhibitions and Conferences (MICE) arrivals to Thailand in first half of this year to regain its position as the number one source market from 2013. This was revealed by Ms Nooch Homrossukhon, Acting Director, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) during TCEB team visit to India last week.
Ms Nooch said: “While our country gains international confidence among business communities around the world, during the first half of 2015 fiscal year, Thailand has already attracted 48,789 Indian MICE travelers, more than 50 per cent of total MICE travelers from India in 2014. Economy will continue to play a key role driving the MICE sector. As major markets including the US, and Europe recover slowly, it’s important to look at growth in short haul and high potential markets such as India, China, and within ASEAN.”
India was the top source market for TCEB in 2013 with a total of 103,373 MICE travelers. As Thailand went through a political transition, India source market became the number 2 in 2014 after China, with 83,351 MICE arrivals. The positive development was that 13,429 of them were trade exhibition visitors, a 134 percent increase in the segment from India.
Ashwini Surve, Regional Manager-Holidays, Riya Holidays told eGTMedia: “Infrastructure, good hospitality, culture connection with India, availability of Indian cuisine makes Thailand popular with our clients. We had an 800 member group just last month (June) to Bangkok and Pattaya.”
Chiang Mai, Phuket and Khon Kaen in North East Thailand are major MICE destinations along with Bangkok and Pattaya. Chanthaburi, Hat Yai, Kanchanaburi, Khao Yai National Park, Koh Chang, Koh Samui and Krabi are good for smaller groups.
More than 200 golf courses and Muay Thai live and Siam Niramit cultural entertainment shows render themselves suitable for MICE groups. Grand Postal Building, Central Embassy, and the upcoming District EM (opening in 2017) are some of the new venues available for MICE.
TCEB, the flagship organisation under Thailand Prime Minister’s office, supports MICE groups’ right from bidding process to research, marketing and promotion. Many incentives are provided for delegates in a group of more than 30. Thailand CONNECT Welcome Package to every delegate includes a free BTS Smartpass for travel within the city and a free 3G/4G WIFI by TrueMove.
Ms Nooch said: “Group with more than 301 delegates is eligible for a financial subsidy upto one million Baht ($ 28,715). Agents need to contact us atleast two months in advance for this financial support. A month’s advance notice is required for claiming non-financial incentives.” Additionally, ‘Spice up Your Business Agenda in Thailand’ campaign with Visa offers discounts on MICE traveler essentials.
TCEB India office works directly with travel planners at corporate companies to create awareness on the benefits of planning six months prior for best benefits. It’s also working with airlines to come-up with MICE packages by next year. Micehotspots.com is a blog that has latest news, promotions, information and offerings that further links to TCEB webpage. Tier two and three cities like Jaipur, Punjab, Kanpur, Lucknow, Trichy, Hyderabad, Pune and Nagpur are considered new potential markets for attracting MICE groups.
TCEB 2015 road show was held in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. There are 141 flight connections from 6 airlines per week between India and Thailand and Thai visa is available on arrival. MICE travelers get the benefit of immigration fast track at Bangkok airport. Thailand currently has 175,000 hotel rooms with additional 25000 rooms scheduled to be added by year end.
Ms Nooch said: “With a wide range of market development and road shows such as this one, we believe that we will be able to achieve positive momentum for the rest of 2015.”
Written by Anand & Madhura Katti