Feeling the warmth: Thai boxing up-close for clients. Credit: Destination Asia
Bangkok retains its status as Thailand's top destination for MICE, as the Thai capital continues to re-invent itself as a cosmopolitan and activity-based centre for meetings and incentives.
Ms Pornthip Hirunkate, MD of Destination Asia and TCEB board member, said the company handled over 60 MICE groups during 2019 of which more than 50% focused solely on Bangkok. Most others still paired Bangkok with Koh Samui, Krabi, Chiang Mai or Phuket, or with emerging destinations.
"Bangkok is still doing well because it has become more sophisticated with more upmarket venues and hotels plus better products offering a greater variety of things to do. Roof top bars, new upmarket boats and teak wood rice barges for river cruises are just a few examples of products that are spicing things up a bit.
Cooking with the locals
"Most buyers from leading incentive houses have been to Thailand multiple time so the need to innovate is constantly ongoing," she said.
Top achievers usually range from 30 to 60 years old with millennials gravitating towards experience-based activities that offer the chance to interact with local Thais. City tours around Bangkok and 'treasure hunts' offer the opportunity for Destination Asia to explore multi-transport itineraries using tuk tuks, the BTS Skytrain and river taxis to move participants around the city.
Market-wise, the company is still seeing strong demand from India (large groups). However, its focus remains on Western markets (North America, Latin America and Australia) and not Asia, hence, it has so far seen minimal COVID-19 impact.
"For February 2020, some groups have postponed until May to October, some came without any changes and we've had two cancellation originating from countries that currently don't have travel restrictions," Mr Pornthip said.