Thailand stands ready to empower exhibitions industry

TCEB’s new E³ campaign supports show organisers on various fronts including financial grants, performance boosters and quality partners.

From left: Koelnmesse’s Ralph Hendrich; Clarion Events’ Richard Ireland; TCEB’s Kanokporn Damrongkul, Thai Exhibition Association’s Suthichai Techanarungroj; and M&C Asia’s Xinyi Liang-Pholsena.
From left: Koelnmesse’s Ralph Hendrich; Clarion Events’ Richard Ireland; TCEB’s Kanokporn Damrongkul, Thai Exhibition Association’s Suthichai Techanarungroj; and M&C Asia’s Xinyi Liang-Pholsena. Photo Credit: Cheryl Teo

Plenty of opportunities await in Thailand's MICE industry, and industry stakeholders are eager to tap the country's prowess as a regional exhibitions powerhouse. 

At Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau’s (TCEB) Business Forum on 6 July, held in Voco Orchard Singapore, Thailand’s MICE leaders convened to assert the country’s capabilities of welcoming international trade exhibitions once again, further buoyed with an enhanced MICE infrastructure during a panel discussion moderated by M&C Asia senior editor Xinyi Liang-Pholsena. 

“A new MICE development is the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), covering three provinces of Thailand — Chonburi, Rayong, Chachoengsao — each specialising in various sectors for different corporate groups’ needs,” said TCEB’s director of exhibitions department, Kanokporn Damrongkul. “For example, there’s an area to promote aerospace, another for technology, and one for the medical industry.”

Most notable of Thailand’s new MICE developments is the recent launch of TCEB’s new campaign dubbed E³, which represents ‘Empowering Exhibition Economy’. Kanokporn said that TCEB stands ready to empower planners by providing comprehensive support for corporate meetings, incentive trips, conventions, exhibitions, mega events and world festivals.

Planners looking to organise exhibitions between August 2022 to September 2023 in Thailand’s EEC will also be afforded financial support. Grants range from US$36,100 to US$41,700, depending on scale.

Photo Credit: TCEB

Under the E³ campaign are three main focuses: PEOS empowerment, carbon neutral events and MICE alliance. TCEB will provide a “powerful subvention programme,” according to Kanokporn, committed to supporting professional event organisers in their EEC shows for at least three years, and help to foster “powerful partnerships” to facilitate exhibition growth, alongside assisting with sustainable event planning.

The power of partnerships for exhibitions

July was a good month for Thailand. Not only did 1 July mark the complete removal of pandemic entry restrictions, including the removal of Thailand Pass for inbound visitors, TCEB also projects that the number of MICE travellers is expected to increase by 45% by next year.

In-person exhibitions and shows in Thailand are also seeing a swift return of visitors and interest. “Thailand is back with a vengeance,” said Ralph Hendrich, general manager at Koelnmesse, which recently co-organised Thaifex-Anuga in Bangkok in May with Thai Ministry of Commerce’s Department of International Trade Promotion and the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

“TCEB knows what they’re good at and can help us open doors. They are connected to a lot of people, ministries, private sectors and associations, so if you come in with a new show, they will help facilitate that," added Hendrich. 

In reference to TCEB’s “powerful sustainability programme” mentioned by Kanokporn, which includes sustainable venues, guidelines, and training modules, Richard Ireland, managing director, Asia, Clarion Events agreed that “Thailand has invested a long time in being a sustainable destination,” which he believes is advantageous in this new MICE era where organisers are expected to “show our sustainable credentials”.

“What’s actually more important is that customers are requesting that we demonstrate sustainability,” explained Ireland. “What’s unique to Thailand is that we get a sustainability checklist to help us, as all of us in our industry knows that becoming sustainable is incredibly difficult. It’ll help us position our event and the industry as a whole as a sustainable one and demonstrate that we’re on the right path.”

Looking ahead, TCEB boasts a very robust five-year roadmap of events encompassing a broad spectrum of sectors. From the Udon Thani International Horticultural Expo in 2026 to the country's first International Air Show in 2027, Thailand aims to offer a wealth of opportunities for every industry to showcase their offerings.

One thing that the health and medical sectors can look forward to is Thailand’s recent legalisation of cannabis, which Suthichai Techanarungroj, vice president, Thai Exhibition Association, believes will “benefit medical shows as well as other industries which can explore various packages”.