AIME 2012, TCEB Flags ‘Oceania Market’ at Milestones Underlining “Phuket – 7 MICE Wonders of the Andaman”

Melbourne: 21 February 2012 – The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organisation) or TCEB revealed its 2012 Marketing Plan that its Believe in Thailand campaign will be sharpened to highlight Thailand’s ‘Diversity of Destinations’. Through this, TCEB   will promote the variety of Thai MICE Cities, which can serve diverse needs of the global business events. The plan targets both short- and long-haul destinations.

Launching diverse destinations of Thailand at the AIME 2012, the Asia Pacific’s largest trade show for the meetings and incentive travel industry, TCEB debuts its selected  MICE City – “Phuket : 7 MICE Wonders of the Andaman” targeting Oceania as a decisive market for meetings and incentive travel. This year the Oceania market is expected to contribute to the revenue growth of the Thai MICE industry by up to 6 percent to 2.2 billion baht.

Mr. Akapol Sorasuchart, TCEB President, revealed: “For the past year, Thailand’s MICE industry has been impacted by both internal and external factors, especially the European debt crisis and the economic slowdown in the United States, in addition to the flooding in the central part of the country in November. These factors resulted in a dropping number of MICE visitors from Europe and America. The 2012 MICE marketing plan, particularly for conventions and incentive travel, will therefore target short-haul markets, such as South Asia, East Asia and especially Oceania. In 2011, Thailand welcomed approximately 33,000 MICE travellers from Oceania, whose visits generated revenues of 2 billion baht. Within the countries of Oceania, Australia is one of the ten countries having regularly attended MICE events in Thailand over the past 5 years, with over 20,000 MICE visitors to Thailand in 2011. New Zealand was ranked in second place.
In 2011 TCEB launched a major market promotion campaign – Believe in Thailand – to support the Thai MICE industry. This year the following phase of the campaign will showcase the new theme; THAILAND: Destination of “CHOICES’.  This theme will highlight Thailand’s assortment of destinations that can meet all kinds of MICE events in Thailand. The strategic goal is to establish Thailand’s status as a hub for all industry sectors to support the growth of the ASEAN Economic Community.

And one prominent choice destination of Thailand is Phuket’s diverse attractions and its popularity among MICE travellers from around the world. The island province is featured under the slogan: Phuket: 7 MICE Wonders of the Andaman. The promotion of Phuket is part of TCEB’s MICE Cities program that can warrant Thailand: Destination of Choices thematic campaign. Together with Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, Phuket is designated as MICE city thanks to its proven track record and capacity to host major MICE events.
“Since the Oceania MICE market tends to favour events that blend comfort with a comprehensive range of professional meeting services and activities geared for the incentive travel business, we   have designated Phuket as a flagship destination because of its excellence in 7 key aspects, which give rise to its slogan “7 MICE Wonders of the Andaman”. The slogan has been designed to showcase the southern province’s strengths and diversity, which will stay in the hearts of tourists and MICE visitors alike,” Mr. Akapol added.
The Phuket: 7 MICE Wonders of the Andaman are listed below:

1)    A world-class convention centre. The Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Centre, located close to Mai Khao beach, Thalang District, or 20 kilometers north of Phuket International Airport, is now under construction on an area of 60 acres. Its conference halls will accommodate from 500 to 4,000 participants, and the facility is scheduled for official opening in November 2013.

2)    Accommodation. A wide diversity of accommodation is available in Phuket and the adjacent provinces of Krabi, and Phang Nga- in all, more than 1,000 venues and 74,000 hotel rooms. Phuket also has 3 to 5-star resort and villa accommodation in all parts of the island, with many offering 5-star private villas set in lush tropical gardens, while in close proximity to the sea.

3)    Transportation. Phuket is easily accessible by land, air and sea;
•    By road: Located about 800 kilometers south of Bangkok, the province of Phuket is linked to the capital city via Highway 402, and has excellent roads connecting all parts of the island. Roads leading off Highway 402 provide convenient access to local villages and both tropical and oceanic attractions. Daily bus services are operating between Phuket and Bangkok.
•    By sea: Phuket has a total of 38 ports, piers and jetties, including 3 international jetties, 5 yachting marinas, 14 fishing ports and 16 commercial ferry ports.
•    By air: Phuket International Airport services 44 airlines. It can accommodate up to 20 flights per hour, and averages 46,132 domestic and international flights carrying more than 6.7 million passengers per year. The government recently approved a budget of 5.7 billion baht for the expansion of Phuket International Airport. When completed in 2012, the new facility will accommodate 12.5 million passengers per year by 2018. The flight from Bangkok to Phuket takes 1 hour 10 minutes.

4)    8 world-class golf courses.  With amazing courses and facilities, as well as, spectacular views and challenges, Phuket meets all the needs of professional golfers. Its impeccable courses regularly host flagship tournaments, such as the Johnnie Walker Classic / Honda Classic.

5)    Diverse choice of tourism and leisure activities. World-famous beach destinations, such as Patong, Kata and Karon offer pure white sandy settings and every imaginable kind of water sports, beach fun activities and recreation. Eco-tourism offers a change of pace- the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Conservation Development and Extension Centre has a 600m mangrove trail. You can also enjoy island-hopping – Phuket has a total of 39 pristine islands, mostly to the east and south of the main island. The most popular of these are Koh Racha Yai, Koh Racha Noi, Koh He, Koh Lon and Koh Mai Ton. In terms of historical heritage and culture, traditional Sino-Portuguese architecture can be seen all around Phuket Municipality; for example, the Thai Hua Museum, Phuket City hall, the Old Post and Telegraph Building, and Phuket Cultural Center.

6)    Acclaimed destination for international competitive sailing. Phuket has been recognised as a world-beating destination for international competitive sailing. Leading annual events include the Asian Regatta, Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, and the Six Senses Phuket Raceweek.

7)    World-class seafood, local and Halal culinary. Phuket is known throughout the world for its wonderful seafood and local unique cuisine. Phuket  has also been developed into a hub for halal food, produced to meet food production standards for Muslims. The Halal International Forum and Andaman Muslim Expo 2011 was held in Phuket last year, attended by representatives from the economic triangle of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, along with 70 halal organizations from 35 countries around the world.

Explaining further, Mr. Akapol added, “TCEB is showcasing Thailand’s MICE industry at AIME 2012, leading a delegation of 34 representatives of leading Thai MICE operators, hotels, conference centres, airlines and travel agencies. We aim to promote Thailand as a superior convention and incentive travel destination offering variety of destination choices, which can be tailored to suit the needs of each market. AIME 2012- the region’s largest trade show for the incentives and Meetings industry, will take place in Melbourne, Australia from 21-22 February 2012.  Visitors are invited to visit the Thai Pavilion, with its thematic message “THAILAND: Destination of “CHOICES”.  Moreover, our exhibition “Phuket: 7 MICE Wonders of the Andaman” (Booth # 4206) is expected to result in more than 800 business appointments during the course of the event, generating business deals valued at more than 1.7 billion baht.

“TCEB is confident that the Oceania market will represent a dramatically increasing share of the Thai MICE market. We forecast that over 35,000 MICE visitors from Oceania will visit Thailand during 2012 – a growth of 6 percent over last year, with revenues reaching 2.2 billion baht.  TCEB has set its annual target at 750,000 overseas MICE visitors to Thailand, generating revenues of more than 60 billion baht this year,” Mr Akapol said, in conclusion.