Mrs. Malinee Kitaphanich
Director of Meetings & Incentives
Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)
1.Give us an overview of the diverse services that Meetings and incentives (TCEB) offers to its clients so that the people from around the world are attracted towards Thailand?
We are the national body of Meeting Industry; our role is to promote our country. The services are for the private sector, which is a platform for Thailand to grow in MICE and that’s why the government took the decision to set up MICE bureau. We work more as a promoter with the private sector i.e. the hotels in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiangmai, Krabi etc. who are very much active in the MICE industry. We organize marketing activities and shows to enhance the country image to help them in getting the MICE visitor.
Besides the hotels we also work with destination management companies who are travel agents with more sophisticated services. They work more with corporate people. These are the people who contribute most for the industry.
2.Meetings and Convention industry in Thailand is booming. How is TCEB planning to significantly augment its market share and competitive edge?
We have the private sector to showcase the capability which the corporate people (our buyers) are looking for. Our main role is to provide the buyers with all the information that would be useful to them. The Destination management company is equipped with information about the hotels, the location the incentives etc. For the corporate people to make decisions they look for things that make sense to them. This is what other Convention bureaus are working at, for example to make them feel more important when they arrive in our country. Our role will be enhancing their visit to make it more favorable. And if the event is of high priority, we provide them with a Welcome reception, a note from the dignitaries conveying them that they are important people for our government etc.
3.Tourism is the prime industry of Thailand. Comment on your association with Tourism Industry? How has TCEB benefited it?
Initially the Meeting and Incentives department was a department in Tourism Authority of Thailand. In olden times there was not much separation between tourism in general and business tourism. The separation came in the sense that Tourism is the prime industry in Thailand, and the Tourism Industry grew very fast and therefore MICE started growing. We got the support from Tourism as a stepping stone to grow in an opportunity to promote Thailand in another aspect.
Though our work is to promote Thailand within the Business sector, some of the organizations that come to Thailand may not gain our support. They come to Thailand for different roles and when in delegations they might not need a welcome. 20% clients receive our support. However, at the end of the year we work with the immigration department and about 5% of the total number of visitors to Thailand are MICE visitors.
4.Please brief us on the incentives you provide to your clients.
Our experience is the best incentive. Most of the corporate people who come to Thailand for business purposes want success in it. So the incentive should be as such that contributes to that business. We make these programs in Thailand extraordinary, something which they have never experienced. We never host a home event, we are here to make the corporate event more colorful i.e. hospitality services from the government, which the other private sectors cannot provide. But throughout their stay, it’s the private sector that provides them with options of how they want to spend their time in Thailand. Our job is only to keep them happy so that they do return to Thailand.
5.What has been the recent growth statistics of TCEB in the sector? What is the level of importance that Meetings and Incentives have?
We are the foundation of MICE. No destination can grow in MICE business without their success in leisure. So right from being a leisure destination, it has become the beginning of mice industry by having a great foundation for M & I will make them a destination for Convention and Exhibition comes thereafter. When I say the first step of relationship, I mean we open the door for business relations. Then convention; they look for their targets, where they can gain knowledge about this cream of the world. When Thailand becomes more mature in terms of technology then they will make their exhibitions so that they can sell Thailand to the world. We provide potential to MICE.
6.What policies do you plan to implement in the near future to attract more international exhibitors to come to Thailand?
The new policy is partnership with other government sectors. We are working with TAT, TICA, and Thailand expedition association. Besides these, we also collaborate with Department of Export Promotion from the Ministry of Commerce, the national carriers: The Thai Airways and the BOI (Board of Promotion). Through these collaborations we are able to present the opportunities that Thailand has to offer as a whole and that makes them feel very important.
7.Can you brief us on the 46 ICCA congress and Exhibition going to be held in Pattaya?
My role in hosting this event is to lift up the platform of Thailand MICE professional to meet up with international trade. Creating trust and portraying a positive image of Thailand in the venue of this World Class Event is our main aim. We work with TTT Asia from Singapore because we want to position Thailand among any other big country having the potential to host trade shows. We want them to recognize Thailand as a major MICE hub. It will be a great opportunity for Thai corporate professionals to showcase their capabilities through this industry.
Secondly, for those newcomers who want to go for trade shows will have a unique opportunity when they attend ICCA. This will be the main role of TCEB as a natural body to help the Private sector grow in MICE industry.
8.Finally, what medium are you using to promote TCEB on international platform?
Most importantly we will focus on below the line strategies implying to those that we work without private sector. We have never emphasized on advertising because the person’s we do business with are well experienced. So we are more interested in showing them what Thailand can provide. We also provide an activity that we call the Connection Plus program where we invite all the corporate people around the world to come and experience Thailand once a year. These people who come in turn expand their network.
Apart from this we also work hard on going and meeting them.
We need to use a different approach for corporate buyers in different markets. There are a group of people called meeting planners; they are agents to work closely with other agents in other countries, whom we collaborate with in order to reach corporate buyers who otherwise are hard to access.
We also keep a track of new trade shows where we can provide better opportunities for our private sector. This is our medium, through which we try to approach our potential clients. However that doesn’t mean we don’t do advertising. We are more positive about advertising in places where we can convey the right message.