Thailand is tempting meetings and event organisers with itineraries linking Bangkok and Khao Yai, home to Thailand’s third-largest national park and a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site.
The Thailand CONNECT the World 2015 Bangkok-Khao Yai Familiarisation Trip, launched yesterday in Bangkok, stresses the importance of the meetings and conventions (MICE) sector to the country’s tourism industry.
The program aims to show media, conference organisers and MICE luminaries the advantage of linking a modern metropolis like Bangkok with a natural paradise like Khao Yai, an emerging business events destination.
The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex spans 230 kilometres between Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border in the east, and Khao Yai National Park in the west. The site is home to more than 800 species of fauna, including 112 mammal species (among them two species of gibbon), 392 bird species and 200 reptiles and amphibian species.
The Thailand CONNECT the World 2015 Bangkok-Khao Yai Familiarisation Trip is coordinated by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thai Airways International, the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) and Bangkok Rover Partners (BRP).
At the launch yesterday, TCEB president Nopparat Maythaveekulchai said the combination of Bangkok and Khao Yai had much to offer the MICE market. The MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index had proclaimed Bangkok the top destination in the Asia-Pacific region for three consecutive years (2013-2015).
TAT’s executive director advertising and public relations, Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, said Thailand expected to attract 28 million foreign visitors this year, 15% higher than last year. It was on track to reach the target, having welcomed 15 million visitors so far. MICE delegates played an important part in the mix and were big spenders. The 2015 Discover Thainess campaign, designed to highlight everything that makes Thailand unique as a country, culture and people, was perfectly suited to helping attract conferences and events.
President of the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA), Chai Srivikorn, said the one-square-kilometre Ratchaprasong area was already highly popular with visitors and would become more so with the introduction of a new walking tour. It was safe, with 24-hour security cameras helping ensure that. Some 350,000 visitors stroll the area daily.
Promotions coming up for the Ratchaprasong precinct include vouchers for upscale restaurants, a walking tour to spiritual attractions in the area, and room packages with inclusive services like free Wi-Fi, laundry and dry-cleaning and fitness centre visits.
Director Bangkok River Partners, David Robinson, said the eight Bangkok River hotels offered plenty to suit every business event.
“The diverse and flexible MICE venues and features provide local and international event planners with an incredible opportunity to hold riverside conventions and functions,” he said.
Hotels in the area offered a combined total of more than 100 ballrooms and meeting rooms, world-class infrastructure and top management teams, Robinson said, and a new website, www.bangkokriverexperience.com, had been set up to give an overview of the area.
New projects include a Waldorf Astoria hotel and a park between Central World and Platinum Mall, which should be ready by the end of this year.
Back in the countryside, the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex protects bird species such as babblers – namely the Burmese border babbler and the yellow-eyed babbler. The babbling echoes through a forest complex that’s internationally important for the conservation of globally threatened and endangered mammal, bird and reptile species, among them 19 that are vulnerable, four that are endangered, and one that is critically endangered.
Written by Peter Needham in Bangkok