Amazing Thailand! That’s how their tourism slogan goes. But the amazement goes beyond the area of tourism. At a press conference, Team Thailand composed of members of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) divulged another offensive that left their Philippine counterparts salivating and wishing for the same support that the Thai government provides TCEB.
TCEB is a public organization established by Royal Decree in 2002 under the office of the Prime Minister to be the flagship organization in charge of promoting, developing as well as regulating, coordinating and facilitating domestic and international meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). It is the backbone of the MICE industry tasked to strongly develop the MICE industry and make Thailand the regional hub for MICE events. Every year, they go around not just in the ASEAN countries but all over the globe bringing with them a crew of not less than ten including representatives of big event organizing groups to invite visitors to the trade shows. Their logic: trade buyers spend three times more than regular tourists.
TCEB President Nopparat Maythaveekulchai said TCEB is a strsategic partner to international exhibition-related businesses aiming to succeed in Thailand and the ASEAN region. TCEB understands that trade information and promotion campaigns granted by governments are crucial for energetic trade stakeholders, especially those in the exhibition industry. Following the official bilateral collaboration between TCEB and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry last year, Thailand welcomed a total of 25,555 Philippines MICE visitors generating US$74.36 million revenue into the Tahi economy, positioning itself as the 9th highest contributor to Thai Mice sector. “Thailand Moves Forward” Exhibition Roadshow highlights the ASEAN MICE collaboration initiative where leading Thai tradeshow organizers work in synergy with Philippine MICE travel agents mindful of AEC 2015.
Thailand Connect is just one of their strategies to attract visitors using “overseas legal entities” as visitor promoters. Its objectives are to increase the quality number if trade visitors to International Trade Exhibitions organized in Thailand and to improve and upgrade the show’s quality in size, “internationalization” (I suppose that means the number of foreign visitors), and business matching. It is quite simple. The visitor promoter organizes a group or a trade mission of at least five visitors (10 required for countries other than the Philippines) or more to visit, participate or convene at an international trade exhibition in Thailand. The selected international trade exhibition must be an officially endorsed and supported by TCEB. In return, the visitor promoter will be entitled to 100 USD for every visitor they bring that meets the criteria plus the promoter is entitled to free accommodation with partner hotels in another promo called “Be my guest”. And all these inspite, despite the recent political uprising in that country. It is admirable how fast they are able to spring back to business and back to work. Amazing, wouldn’t you agree?
The Philippines used to be the convention hub of Asia in the early 70s and 80’s. That is why the Philippines International Convention Center was conceived and built and credit goes to Madame Imelda Marcos and her project managers. It was killing two birds with one stone attracting visitors to the country at the same time pushing trade. We were first then. Sad to say, we are back to square one.
God is Great!