MICE industry eyes 2022 comeback

Saturday, April 16, 2022


The MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) has experienced a shift to mostly virtual events over the past two years.

However, physical events stand a chance of a steady return this year as more countries change strategy to enable people to live with COVID-19.

According to Event MB, a blog for event planners, 67% of event professionals had contracts for in-person events during the second or third quarter of this year.

Only 22% will not return to in-person events until 2023.

Travel relaxation across the world is seen as a good sign for that recovery, while visitors expect more safety measures at the events to ensure their safety, said Camilla Van Grembergen, trend analyst at a global consumer trends company.

Thus, services and innovations that offer try-before-you-buy experiences will allow potential customers or visitors to see venues or rooms before deciding to book events.

For MICE organisers, they are advised to adopt virtual technology to respond to consumers’ demands.

As the industry starts to see positive signs, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is rolling out a plan to attract Mice events and travellers to Thailand.

Supanich Thiansing, TCEB’s Director of Meetings and Incentives, said the agency will conduct marketing campaigns targeting specific segments that have been less affected by the pandemic, such as insurance, multi-level marketing companies and medical supplies.

She said the industry should be able to host 300 events this year, of which meetings and incentives ought to number 169 with 71,454 visitors.

There are planned to be 95 conventions drawing 86,740 visitors, and 49 exhibitions that could generate 12 billion baht in revenue.

TCEB has succeeded in its bids for large global events, including the International Horticultural Expo 2026 in Udon Thani, the International Horticultural Expo 2029 in Nakhon Ratchasima, and the Specialised Expo 2028 in Phuket.

It also offers subsidies and privileges to facilitate MICE travellers, such as a Mice Lane, which has already expanded its services to Don Mueang Airport and Phuket Airport.

Long-haul MICE travellers might take a longer time to rebound.

The industry has to build cooperation within the region to stem the impact, said Sumate Sudasna, president of the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (Tica).

Such initiatives include the Asia Convention Alliance, under which MICE-related state agencies and associations signed a memorandum of understanding last September to help exchange Mice travellers between members.

Asia Convention Alliance’s founding members also include the Seoul Tourism Organisation, the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

The partnership plans to have six conventions rotating between four countries over the next three years.

In terms of bidding for more convention events, Mr Sumate said Tica has partnered with TCEB to introduce the Thailand Bidding Team, which will train a local task force through an incubation programme.

The programme offers funding for each bidding project, starting with 100,000 baht for events of 50 to 500 international delegates.

Mr Sumate said some events that had already been won included the 10th A-PHPBA 2025 Bangkok Congress, which will be hosted by the Asian-Pacific Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (A-PHPBA), as well as the 80th Serra International Convention 2023 in Chiang Mai.

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