An established Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) destination, Thailand is reinventing itself by adding new cities on its map of MICE travel and creatively reinventing its products and services.
Corporate meetings and incentives combined are making for 70 pc of MICE travel from India. There has been 18 pc growth in MICE visits from India to Thailand; and out of the overall visits to Thailand, 12 pc are MICE.
The facts and figures are in favour of Thailand as an established MICE destination amongst Indian MICE travellers and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is making sure the momentum continues.
“Thailand is a preferred destination for meetings and incentives. Corporates from India who start doing an international incentives programme, choose Thailand for various reasons including value for money,” says Nitin Sachdeva, director, India Representative Office, TCEB.
India is among the top two market for Thailand and is only behind China in MICE tourism.
A country that claims to be a mature MICE destination, Thailand is much on offer for India with new and creative products and services in line, and a re-vamp of existing products and addition of new cities as MICE destinations in Thailand.
“We are offering new products in the existing market, and we are expanding to other cities,” says Sachdeva.
For MICE travel Thailand has a strong footing in cities such as Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket and is expanding to cities such as Chiang Mai and Krabi.
“While we are currently taking only small groups to the new destinations, we are preparing them for bigger numbers at the same time,” adds Sachdeva.
Expanding in India
While Thailand claims to have won the trust of major corporates from India for MICE travel, it is now also working with Tier II market in order to grab a hold on SMEs.
“We are educating the SMEs about incentive travel, the trends of MICE and how it can help them boost their business. This is the method we first applied in Tier I markets and drove a lot of traffic and even helped SMEs in these Tier I cities expand,” says Sachdeva.
“We are doing seminars to capture these SMEs. The 70 pc of MICE business from India actually comprises mostly of SMEs,” he adds.
MICE travel is popular in industries such as insurance, banking, finance, direct selling, FMCG, construction among others. And while it focuses on a new share of people and corporates, Thailand is not forgetting about its existing associations.
“Apart from the new product offering that we have, we are focusing on building a strong relationship with the corporates and the inter-mediators as we realise they are driving the business for us,” says Nooch Homrossukhon, director, meetings and incentives department, TCEB.
Thailand is in fact putting in the desired efforts in attracting its former clients by finding new ways of exciting them and also customising their trips.
“For a MICE tour in Thailand, we made the guests enjoy a range of cultural activities, which was a unique experience for them; while for another group we helped host an event at Siam Niramit theatre- one of Thailand’s biggest theatres- where the IIFA was held,” share the officials.
Thailand has for long enjoyed the benefits of a good air connectivity with India and boasts of its many cultural and luxury offerings in regards of hotels, cuisines, et al, that the MICE travellers can enjoy on their work trip.
“We are creating something new every three months. The private companies are also creative and help us customise services. We also have a strong support network within the country and access to all industry partners that leads to successful events for clients,” says Homrossukhon.