Encouraged by a study conducted by the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) that shows incentive travel is the fastest growing element of business events, and one that achieves the highest spend per person across the widest spectrum of destination suppliers, the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has intensified its courtship of this segment.
One of its major moves was to host the SITE 2019 Global Conference last week, an event that drew 350 incentive travel specialists from all over the world and emphasised Thailand as flagship destination for such events in Asia.
The conference, which ran from January 11 to 14, showcased Bangkokâ€™s contemporary society and culture, key features that are increasingly important in incentive travel where â€śauthentic experiencesâ€ť have become a must, noted Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, TCEB president.
Philip Eidsvold, SITE president, said: â€śOur research findings are clear: incentive travel planners place more importance on overall destination appeal than air access and hotel infrastructure, and Thailand has star quality appeal for incentive travel qualifiers. Thailand is really the perfect incentive travel destination offering excellent access, amazing five-star hotels and venues, deep history and heritage and extraordinary gastronomy.”
TCEB expects the Kingdom to gain in areas of learning, development and the overall professionalism of the local incentive travel community through the hosting of the SITE 2019 Global Conference.
Besides hosting the event, TCEB also partnered with SITE to provide Certified Incentive Specialists (CIS), an entry-level certification programme for incentive travel professionals. The course, conducted on January 10 and 11, saw 60 participants from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, and Thailand.
There are currently 68 CIS professionals from Thailand, placing the country in first place for CIS graduates in Asia.
Further, the SITE Thailand Chapter was officially launched last week.
“TCEB has been a mainstay in establishing the SITE Thailand Chapter with the bureau providing support and coordination to ensure the success of the initiative. The SITE Thailand chapter is the first SITE chapter in (South-east Asia) and its launch emphasises Thailandâ€™s image as the world-class destination for incentive travel,â€ť said Chiruit.
Thailand has 23 incentive travel professionals who are members of SITE.