KING­DOM CALL­ING

Bangkok’s MICE busi­ness

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

P ris­tine beaches, lip-smack­ing cui­sine and af­ford­abil­ity are a few rea­sons why Thai­land is pop­u­lar amongst trav­ellers. Ac­cord­ing to the Thai­land Of­fice of Tourism Devel­op­ment, the to­tal num­ber of vis­i­tors to Thai­land grew from eight mil­lion ar­rivals in 1998 to around 30 mil­lion in 2015. Since a few years, Thai­land’s MICE in­dus­try has been grow­ing at a dras­tic pace, in­creas­ing by 49 per cent be­tween 2010 and 2013. Rev­enue gen­er­ated by MICE grew by US$1 bil­lion dur­ing the same pe­riod. Due to po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, MICE ar­rivals in 2014 re­duced by nine per cent from the pre­vi­ous year, only to bounce back in 2015 to the usual fig­ures. Thai­land was ranked 25th out of 141 coun­tries world­wide, and third among ASEAN coun­tries af­ter Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia in the Tourism and Travel

Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex 2015 pub­lished by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum. Num­bers gath­ered by Thai­land Of­fice of Tourism Devel­op­ment show that MICE ac­counts for seven per cent of all in­bound vis­i­tors to Thai­land as of 2015. Due to their im­pres­sive spend­ing po­ten­tial, this cat­e­gory of trav­ellers is highly re­garded in the coun­try.

Di­rect air con­nec­tiv­ity to the im­por­tant me­trop­o­lises around the globe, di­verse cities, ex­otic is­lands and world-class hospi­tal­ity are a few more rea­sons why Thai­land has evolved into a pre­ferred MICE des­ti­na­tion. This is fur­ther at­trib­uted to im­proved in­fra­struc­ture, var­ied ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions by in­ter­na­tional ho­tel chains and well­versed lo­cal event man­age­ment com­pa­nies.

Ear­lier this year, Su­mate Su­dasna, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Con­fer­ence and Des­ti­na­tion Man­age­ment Thai­land In­cen­tive and Con­ven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (TICA) con­firmed Thai­land’s popularity amongst MICE co­or­di­na­tors in num­bers,“There are about 360 meet­ings and trade shows planned in Thai­land for the sec­ond half of 2017, out of which 75 per cent are in­ter­na­tional-scale con­fer­ences and trade ex­hi­bi­tions. The In­ter­na­tional Congress and Con­ven­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (ICCA) po­si­tions Thai­land at 24th in the World’s As­so­ci­a­tion Meet­ing Des­ti­na­tions list for this year. In the same sur­vey, Bangkok jumped from the 16th to the 12th po­si­tion. Re­search and Markets’ re­cent

Thai­land In­dus­try and Fore­cast to 2022 re­port, pre­dicts that the king­dom could ex­pect to wel­come more than 1.3 mil­lion MICE trav­ellers by 2022. This would gen­er­ate around US$4 bil­lion in rev­enue.”

Hav­ing vis­ited the Thai cap­i­tal a few times in the past, on my re­cent visit, I looked for­ward to ex­plor­ing its MICE as­pect keenly. It be­gins with Bangkok Mar­riott Mar­quis Queen’s Park, a 1,360-key Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional prop­erty in the heart of the city. (A Mar­riott ho­tel can qual­ify for the Mar­quis brand if it has over 1,000 rooms, along with a few other cri­te­ria like ex­pan­sive meet­ing fa­cil­i­ties and con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion). Bangkok Mar­riott Mar­quis Queen’s Park is the first Mar­quis-cat­e­gorised ho­tel in Asia-Pa­cific, and boasts of 4,645 sqm of venue space across 35 event rooms and six F&B out­lets.

We were a part of Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional’s test au­di­ence for an in­ter­est­ing global part­ner­ship. The Amer­i­can hospi­tal­ity gi­ant has part­nered with TED (Tech­nol­ogy, En­ter­tain­ment, De­sign) — an emi­nent me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tion, which posts talks on­line for free dis­tri­bu­tion, un­der the slo­gan “ideas worth spread­ing”. As a part of this col­lab­o­ra­tion, TED Salons are be­ing held across se­lect Mar­riott ho­tels around the world. Past TED Salons have taken place at Seat­tle Mar­riott Wa­ter­front, Mar­riott Ho­tel Al For­san, Abu Dhabi and London Mar­riott Ho­tel County Hall. This is the fourth in the world and first ho­tel in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion to host the event.

Speak­ing to Mike Fuller­son, vice pres­i­dent of brand and mar­ket­ing at Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional, gave us an un­der­stand­ing as to why Bangkok was cho­sen to show­case this unique part­ner­ship. “The Thai cap­i­tal is a strate­gic des­ti­na­tion in the Asia-Pa­cific that ap­peals to ev­ery­one around the world. It has a large ex­pat

Clock­wise from

left: Bangkok Mar­riott Mar­quis Queen’s Park fa­cade, Deluxe King room, and the Pagoda meet­ing room

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