With infrastructure investments including rail and airport improvements, Thailand's development strategy is good news for business event planners.
A spate of economic reforms and infrastructure projects are being rolled out under 'Thailand 4.0', a large-scale government strategy that aims to elevate the country’s development model. Mega projects within the strategy include a submarine cable network that connects Thailand, Hong Kong and China, an electric rail system in Bangkok, and the expansion of major airports including Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport and Chiang Mai International Airport. News of projects in the pipeline has sparked interest from foreign players in the region including India and Japan. Where investors are eager to tap into opportunities, the MICE industry will undoubtedly flourish from this uptick of activity. Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) anticipates the growth of business events and expects newfound interest in areas outside of Bangkok including Hua Hin and Pattaya.
“By enhancing MICE as a driving force behind the economic growth, we connect the international business community including Thailand 4.0-targeted industrial segments through diverse strategic approaches,” said Supawan Teerarat, vice president of TCEB's strategic and business development. The airport projects too will likely encourage more business travellers as currently, the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in Bangkok are unable to cater to the sheer volume of inbound visitors. [The current airports] are too busy to handle large groups because we have a lot of allies that come to Bangkok,” said Maneerat Maneenin, managing director at professional conference organiser ThaiMICE. “Those who come here for business also want to travel to many other tourist attractions. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is always trying to promote new places.” In 2017, Thailand welcomed over 36 million MICE travellers, who generated upwards of 179 billion Baht (US$5.7 billion).