New destination marketing messages and a series of promotional packages, to expedite the recovery of Thailand‚Äôs inbound meetings and incentives business are in the works, towards a possible launch at IMEX Frankfurt this May.
In an interview with TTGmice last Thursday, Nooch Homrossukhon, director – meetings & incentives with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), revealed that a meeting with industry stakeholders was called on February 5 to brainstorm next steps.
TCEB is presently working with its agencies and industry stakeholders on an execution timeline for the efforts.
However, Nooch admitted that ‚Äúit is really hard to tell‚ÄĚ when the right time would be, as new infections are still being reported in and outside of hotzone China.
‚ÄúDuring our discussion (on February 5), we agreed that more clarity around the virus will come towards the end of February. That’s the message Chinese health officials are saying. From then on, we can make further, firmer plans on how to move forward,‚ÄĚ she said.
Nooch added that times of crisis have brought the meetings and incentives industry players closer and there is a strong sense of camaraderie.
While TCEB typically subsidises roadshow participation for the private sector, requiring only ‚Äúa minimal registration fee‚ÄĚ, Nooch said stakeholders are now offering to chip in financially should the bureau face budget limitations in any of their upcoming roadshows.
Going forward, TCEB will continue to work on a spread of source markets, with significant attention paid to Asian markets.
Nooch said TCEB was aware of the need to reduce Thailand‚Äôs reliance on the China meetings and incentives market since three years ago, which led to the bureau investing more in India, particularly in tier-two and tier-three cities.
Despite the efforts, China remains Thailand‚Äôs top market for inbound meetings and incentive programmes. ‚ÄúChina is a very big volume market so it is hard to beat,‚ÄĚ she explained.
China, India and Malaysia were Thailand‚Äôs top three source markets for meetings and incentives in fiscal year 2018, while Malaysia overtook India in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.
‚ÄúI think Malaysian planners suddenly saw great value in Thailand. As you know, the Malaysian ringgit has been weak, so groups have had to consider nearby destinations that are more affordable, or that bring them greater value. Thailand makes a great option in this case,‚ÄĚ she said. Meeting and incentive arrivals from China and Malaysia now have a 20 per cent gap.
Nooch also hopes that the active SITE Thailand Chapter will muscle up TCEB‚Äôs recovery plans and make Thailand a more prominent choice among global incentive professionals.
The Chapter, which was set up last year after the SITE Global Conference 2019 in Bangkok, was awarded the Rising Star Award for 2019 at SITE‚Äôs 2020 Global Conference in Vancouver, Canada earlier in January.
At the same time, chapter president Max Boontawee Jantasuwan was presented with the Kevin Forde Spirit Award 2019 from SITE for his dedication to the industry and volunteerism.
‚ÄúBoth awards bring us a lot of joy because we put in a lot of effort to get the SITE Global Conference 2019 off the ground in Bangkok, as well as maintain the momentum of industry engagement after that. The feedback from SITE is that we are the only destination that keeps conducting activities for its members after our event,‚ÄĚ she said.