Phuket MICE players turn attention to fresh markets

Phuket's MICE stakeholders are optimistic for the upcoming year

Phuket business events stakeholders are turning to new source markets to speed up recovery, with some saying that the Phuket Sandbox alone has been insufficient to trigger the return of international groups.

Duanphen Klinkrong, director of sales, Blue Tree Phuket – a lifestyle and entertainment venue, has seen new opportunities in Mongolia and more intense interest from India.

Phuket’s MICE stakeholders are optimistic for the upcoming year

The venue recently hosted a group of around 150 pax from Mongolia.

“One of our newest inbound markets is Mongolia, and we are receiving more enquires from the Indian market. This is good because India has direct flights to Phuket,” she said.

Previously, Blue Tree Phuket courted mainly Russian and domestic guests especially when borders were closed, but the former has had to be paused due to the situation unfolding in Ukraine.

Blue Tree Phuket is not alone in courting newer markets to sustain its recovery momentum, especially with China, one of the destination’s top inbound markets, still out of the tourism picture.

Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort welcomed its first corporate group of 25 pax from Singapore in February.

Ornuma Somjit, director of sales, said Singapore is new for the property. “Previously, our MICE groups were mainly domestic, or from Europe,” she revealed, adding that there have been several enquiries from Singapore.

While the Phuket Sandbox has helped to bring in “some domestic MICE tourists”, it was not enough to sustain operations, opined Klevin Chumpon Limthanyaluk, general manager of BIC Hybrid Event.

The event management company rode the pandemic wave by “pivoting to hybrid events”, which he stated would continue to be the way forward.

Agreeing with Klevin, Angkana Tanetvisetkul, managing director of The Peach Group, has chosen not to rely on the Phuket Sandbox. Her team is focusing on courting corporate groups from Asia, which are considered new for the hotel company. Pre-pandemic, Russia was a star performer.

The Peach Group’s new direction has led to business trending up “a lot” in recent months.

However, Angkana said Phuket is now challenged by many other destinations in the world that have reopened, and must be able to stand out from the marketing competition. As such, he will be working closely with government bodies such as Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau to market Phuket better.

Looking ahead, Phuket players are excited about business prospects. Klevin says enquires for “smaller groups with bigger budgets” are streaming in, while Duanphen is hopeful of business continuing its growth momentum throughout the year.

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