MICE revenue in Thailand lowers to less than half the figures in the yesteryears

 Monday, August 7, 2023 


The meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) revenue forecast for the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has been lowered to 96 billion baht.

This is less than half the recorded figures for 2019, mainly due to a sluggish response from the Chinese market.

TCEB’s president, Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya disclosed that despite the strong comeback of MICE travellers from Europe, India, and South East Asia, the return of the Chinese market is essential in meeting previous projections.

Several unfavourable factors, including a limited number of flights and a slow visa application process for groups, are reportedly undermining the growth of the Chinese MICE market.

Additionally, the Chinese government’s push for increased domestic spending to bolster local consumption has boosted China’s MICE industry, trickling down its influence in markets such as Thailand.

China stood as the top market for Thailand’s MICE industry in 2019, charting over 247,000 arrivals.

However, the impact of Beijing’s three-year zero-Covid policy saw it slip from being one of the top five sources in the past year.

Meanwhile, TCEB plans on hosting roadshows in Beijing and Guangzhou in the coming week to boost transactions with Chinese buyers.

The initial forecast suggested a revenue of 109 billion baht from 18.5 million business travellers in fiscal year 2023, banking on a resurgence in global travel and the reopening of China.

However, midway through the fiscal year (from October last year to March this year), revenue numbers dipped to only 39.7 billion baht from 10.1 million travellers, falling 70 billion baht short of the target.

In response, the TCEB adjusted its revenue forecast to 96 billion baht, which is considerably lower than the 201 billion baht recorded in 2019, reported a news agency.

Chiruit further mentioned the potential impact of the global recession risk and geopolitical tensions, stating that these issues could obstruct the influx of MICE travellers and their expenditures, severely impacting MICE revenue.

The bureau aims to bolster the domestic segment while actively tracking bids for large international conventions, estimated to cover about 30 events over the next three to five years.

Chiruit also added that despite Thailand being under a caretaker government, proposals for new events can still be submitted to the Cabinet as most bids concern future conventions.

One such upcoming project ratified by the Cabinet includes a bid to host the 17th Unesco Creative Cities Network Annual Conference in Chiang Mai in 2025. Spearheaded by the TCEB, the bid is in line with the “One Ministry, One Convention” policy, involving the Creative Economy Agency, the Culture Ministry, Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organisation, and the Unesco Creative Cities Network in Thailand.

According to Chiruit, the conference could potentially chart over 126 million baht in MICE revenue.

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