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TCEB diverts subvention budget to help planners in need

Thai convention bureau doubles down to support local operators, while offering incentives to stimulate domestic meetings.

TCEB president, Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, says amid such crisis, marketing campaigns would be fruitless, and instead is focused on helping local operators survive.
TCEB president, Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, says amid such crisis, marketing campaigns would be fruitless, and instead is focused on helping local operators survive. Photo Credit:Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)

Amid a spike in Covid-19 infections and renewed movement restrictions, event industry leaders in Thailand are urging the government for further assistance.

Sumate Sudasna, president of Thailand Incentive and Convention Association (TICA) said that in order to survive, businesses have had to cut costs in many areas, including workforce reductions.

Speaking to M&C Asia, he also commented that it's been difficult for international tourism and events agencies to enter domestic business, which already has established players. At present, the cake is too small to share.

Therefore, "assistance to allow operators to survive is urgently needed," Sudasna said.

TCEB president, Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, added that amid such crisis, marketing campaigns would be fruitless.

"Situations would [only] return to normal mid next year at the soonest and remaining budgets should be therefore spent to help operators," he said.

TCEB expects its initiatives to circulate money among communities and MICE operators.
TCEB expects its initiatives to circulate money among communities and MICE operators.

The comments came after Chiruit had met representatives from 20 MICE-related associations and tour guide services on 13 January, and found that all operators had problems which varied in degrees. He added that the urgent priority for TCEB was to help the operators pass through the crisis.

To do that, TCEB will divert budget previously designated for the support of events that were postponed or cancelled, to help affected operators. Relevant companies and associations will work out their projects that TCEB can support in by the end of this fiscal year in September. Such projects could include training for employees and TCEB will pay training allowances to participating employees.

Additionally, TCEB will request 200 million baht (US$6.67 million) from the government to stimulate spending in the MICE sector. Also in the plans: a grant of 30,000 baht to any company which organises a two-day domestic meeting that includes a CSR activity with a regional community. TCEB will grant 15,000 baht to any company that has a social responsibility activity with a local community in Bangkok.

TCEB expects its initiatives to circulate money among communities and MICE operators. It hopes that the National Economic and Social Development Council, and the government will give quick approval for the budgetary request.

"Thailand still has potential in MICE and should be able to restart the industry when the time is right," said Chiruit.

Similarly, TICA's Sumate believes that there is pending demand in the MICE sector. "When the situation improves, Thai operators should be ready to meet the demand right away," he said. He expects exhibitions to return first, followed by corporate meetings, conventions and incentives.

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