Khon Kaen targets business events; forms private MICE bureau

The Khonkaen International Convention & Exhibition Centre (KICE) opened last week, and riding on its coattails is the hope that more international business events will head to the north-eastern region of Thailand.

Channarong Buristrakul, co-founder of Khon Kaen Think Tank, said the 25,000m2 centre opens up new opportunities for Khon Kaen, as conferences and exhibition spaces were previously limited to hotels and universities.

Khon Kaen is one of the five MICE cities gazetted by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau

“The biggest (business) event in Khon Kaen to date is 5,000 pax, held about three years ago. But with the KICE, we can have a conference for 10,000,” he said.

He added that although Khon Kaen lacks a convention bureau, the private sector, along with the support of 80 businesses, has raised enough funds to set up Khon Kaen MICE Management – a private sector initiative formed last year – to play the role of a local convention bureau. It is now looking at attracting regional business events from Laos and Vietnam.

He acknowledged that the destination has to work on its branding, and create more awareness of its business event capabilities.

Channarong said: “We don’t have enough attractions (such as the) seaside, beaches and mountains. We also need to create more activities and attractions for pre- and post- tours. However, we are strong in agriculture, education and medical, and these are the sectors we want to attract.”

KICE, located 15 minutes from the local Khon Kaen airport, is the third largest convention and exhibition centre in Thailand. It is privately owned and managed by CP Land.

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