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MICE part of key strategies for Thai hotels

Tourists who travel for leisure might slow down in 2020, but business travellers for meetings will continue to contribute to arrivals in Thailand

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Hoteliers in Thailand should actively seek new markets such as MICE travellers to have more opportunities to stand out among heated competition.

BANGKOK - The MICE market will be one of the key strategies adopted by hoteliers in Thailand as they plan to battle the gloomy economic forecasts this year.

Naowarat Arunkong, cluster general manager of Avani Sukhumvit Bangkok and Avani Khon Kaen Hotel and Convention Centre, told the Bangkok Post that hoteliers have to actively seek new markets such as MICE travellers to have more opportunities to stand out among heated competition.

Ms Naowarat said tourists who travel for leisure might slow down this year, but business travellers for meetings will continue to contribute to arrivals in Thailand, which is a preferred MICE destination in the region thanks to the readiness of hotel facilities and plentiful tourism destinations.

Other key strategies identified by hoteliers for this year include doubling down on best practices and sustainable business practices, reported Bangkok Post.

Suphajee Suthumpun, group chief executive of Dusit International, said a good foundation, well-prepared business models and solid strategies will help operators maintain their positions in the industry no matter what happens this year.

There are no standalone industries anymore, so operators have to think beyond their industry to bring value to customer experiences, such as finding new partners or connecting through online travel agencies (OTAs) to build brand awareness, said Mrs Suphajee.

She added that, in 2020, economic and tourism stimulus plans from the government - whether short, medium or long-term - will still be crucial to boost the economy.

Ronnachit Mahattanapreut, senior vice-president for finance and administration of Central Plaza Hotel, said the Thai government should work to control the strong baht, which has become a major pain point for Thai tourism and export sectors, he said.

If the strong baht is tamed, an increase in tourists from China and India is possible as Mr Ronnachit sees Thailand as a preferred destination for Asian tourists.

Sanya Saengboon, managing director and general manager of Al Meroz Hotel, the leading Halal hotel in Bangkok, said Muslim visitors are another growing niche market for operators to tap into, particularly quality tourists who travel in groups or with family.

Thailand ranked second in the top 10 preferred destinations for Muslim travel among countries outside of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in the Global Muslim Travel Index 2019 by Mastercard and CrescentRating.