BANGKOK, 16 August 2017: Thailand has identified the pursuit of quality tourism as its strategic goal in a bid to shift the emphasis from counting tourist arrivals to building revenue, length of stay and offering upscale travel experiences.
MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) is viewed as the travel segment that will help Thailand do just that, as well as ensuring it can rise through the ranks to become the leader in ASEAN’s highly competitive events business.
Thailand has many factors in its favour including strategic location on mainland ASEAN, a comprehensive network of airline routes and superb hotel and meeting facilities on the ground to serve the needs a global MICE industry.
But it hasn’t overlooked the need for training, building quality hospitality services and establishing the highest professional standards, spearheaded by associations such as the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA).
Established in 1984, the non-profit organisation’s core aim is to assist the various components of the MICE industry to expand, grow skills, jointly promote and support event bids.
We asked TICA’s president, Sumate Sudasna, about TICA’s plans and the way forward.
Q: Could you identify the top priority marketing objectives for TICA in 2018 and how you intend to achieve them?
Q: What do you see as being the role of TICA in the wider context of ASEAN MICE?
A: TICA membership spans all supplier segments serving all markets, so we can fly the ASEAN flag as a preferred region for long-haul markets. Thailand is the hub, that can also serve our own ASEAN clients.
Q: Thailand has clearly stated it will seek quality tourists rather than pursue numbers. How will TICA contribute to this strategy?
A: TICA members serve business events, which indeed require quality and professional services and facilities, not only ensuring success and satisfaction of the events and their attendees but also inspiring attendees to revisit with families and friends.
Q: In your view what are the major challenges facing Thailand’s MICE industry?
A: Thailand’s tourism has become an important contributor for the economy, hence the initiatives to drive arrival numbers, which affects tourism resources on all fronts. Strategic management of the kind that achieves a good balance for sustainable growth is urgently needed.
Q: Looking to the future what is Thailand’s competitive set in MICE and how should it respond to competition from other destinations?
A: MICE/business events rely on a destination’s appeal and its professional services, so as long we display these attributes and they are maintained, or improved upon, Thailand will continue to be selected for events.
Q: If you had a wish-list to present to the government what would top it and why?
A: It would be to really understand tourism, BOTH the benefits AND negative legacies that it brings with it, and then to enforce policies that will lead to sustainable development.