Thailand is the centre of Asia’s MICE business. With its strategic location in the heart of ASEAN, Thailand is a connecting point to the rest of Asia. The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (Public Organisation), or TCEB, has formulated a strategic plan for the development of the Thai MICE industry. TCEB’s plan includes co-operation with strategic partners in the ongoing development of the 10 key MICE cities across the country. Additionally as it has established regional conference and exhibition promotion offices in the country’s four regions that work with government agencies and the private sector to support MICE events and organisers across the country. TCEB is working proactively to continue to develop Thailand’s MICE industry and create sustainable models of prosperity to lay the foundations for Thailand to be the centre of Asia’s MICE business. TCEB continues its close work with provincial authorities and local associations, agencies, and entrepreneurs to build awareness and employment opportunities across the country, ready to unlock MICE opportunities with a formula based on the principles of “Revive, Support and Promote”. The aim is to push the Thai MICE industry to the forefront of the Asian MICE landscape and seek out every opportunity to help revitalise all aspects of the nation’s economy.
Thailand is a key link between countries in Asia, with economic ties spanning the continent that include the transfer of goods, services, skilled labour, trade and investment. Thailand is the continent’s gateway between ASEAN and the rest of Asia. It is also an important production and export base for many of the world’s major industries, including the automobile and automobile component industries, computers and IT industries.
Heading into 2024, forecasts for the Thai economy are for growth of 3.1% driven by domestic spending, recovery of the tourism sector, and exports. There is also hope that additional government stimulus measures will continue to drive domestic consumption.
- The tourism sector continues to recover and even though income from tourism is significantly less than from exports, tourism revenues have a ripple effect through the local economy when it comes to income distribution at a grassroots level, especially tourism from China which has proven a great stimulus for the Thai economy over a number of years.
Private investment and foreign direct investment (FSI) continues to recover with applications for investment support from the BOI up 22% in the first nine months of 2023
In 2024 the Thai economy is expected to grow by 3.5% year-on-year on the back of foreign exports and government spending.
(For reference: https://www.bangkokbiznews.com/finance/investment/1106863)
Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce estimates that the value of exports for the year 2023 will exceed pre-COVID levels. Additional improvement is forecast for 2024 in line with the continued global economic recovery. As inflation slows, the current cycle of interest rate increases is also likely to end, and economic activity will continue to recover along with consumer and investor confidence. The Ministry has set a target for export value to grow by 1.99% in 2024, reaching approximately 10 trillion baht in value.
The establishment of Sa Kaeo province as a special economic zone is currently under consideration by Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. Since visiting government checkpoints in the province, the construction of a new Customs, Immigration & Quarantine (CIQ) building at the Aranyaprathet Customs Checkpoint located close to the Thai-Cambodia Friendship Bridge in Ban Nong Ian-Stung Bot, Tha Kham sub-district, Aranyaprathet district is being accelerated and should be completed within 400 days. When completed, this will be the largest trade channel between Thailand and Cambodia facilitating the transport of goods across the border, and greatly reducing the congestion currently encountered at the Ban Khlong Luek border crossing point. The new facility could quickly offer a One Stop Service Single Window Single Form for the import and export of products, and underline Sa Kaeo’s potential for development. In addition to the streamlined movement of goods across the border, Sa Kaeo’s water management systems offer the opportunity to establish the area as a site for the development of industrial plants. Coupled with the province’s proximity to the Laem Chabang Port, its air force airport which could be developed into a semi-commercial facility able to transport goods and people, Sa Kaeo is primed to welcome increased foreign investment.
2. Easy Access
Thailand enjoys a strategic location within Asia, and boasts many facilities, public utilities and international-standard convention centres. The country is home to 10 MICE cities: Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phitsanulok, Pattaya, Phuket, Songkhla, Surat Thani, and Udon Thani, with additional locations ready to be added to the list of options for a wide variety of MICE activities.
Airports of Thailand has plans to invest an additional 9.6 – 9.7 billion baht over the next six years (2024 – 2029) to develop and expand the passenger capacity of six airports. The plan has already been approved but was stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan encompasses:
Expanding the eastern passenger terminal at Suvarnabhumi Airport
Phase 3 of the Don Muang Airport expansion
Phase 2 of the Phuket Airport expansion
Phase 1 of the Chiang Mai Airport development
Phase 2 of the Mae Fah Luang Airport, Chiang Rai development
Review of the Hat Yai Airport master plan
At the same time as the Authority plans to develop Phuket and Chiang Mai Airports to their full potential, there are plans to build two new airports: the Andaman Airport (Phang Nga) which will accommodate up to 40 million passengers and involves an investment of approximately 70 billion baht; and Lanna Airport in Lamphun, with a further investment of 70 billion baht. Airports of Thailand is currently expediting the process of finding and hiring consultants to study the feasibility of these two projects. Consultants are expected to be hired before the end of this year and eight months have been set aside to study the merits of the proposals.
Credit: Airports of Thailand Public Co. Ltd.
The Cabinet recently resolved to approve the construction of Section 2 of the State Railway of Thailand’s double-track railway project from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai at a cost of 29,748 million baht. The project is part of the Ministry of Transport’s wider plans to develop the country’s transport infrastructure. Plan 1 involves the development of the inter-city rail network (double-track railway system) and Phase 2 will see an increase in the potential of the country’s rail services to support the transportation of both passengers and goods. These plans are in line with the ongoing development of transport and logistics in co-ordination with various government agencies. The continued development of rail services will result in a reduction in the reliance of road transport, in turn reducing road accidents and pollution, overall transportation costs, and energy use in the long run.
Implementation of the project includes plans to build a new one-metre railway track running parallel with the existing track. The track will cover a distance of approximately 167 kilometres and the project includes 14 stations (six new stations and eight renovated stations), construction of 31 road bridges, 53 road underpasses, as well as fencing along the length of the track. The entire project should be completed and open to the public in 2027. Passenger volume is expected to reach 3,500 passengers per day by 2026, and 5,800 per day by 2056. The volume of goods using the rail is expected to be 3.5 million tons per year in 2026, reaching 4.2 million tons by 2056.
3. New Development
The new Pink Line of the elevated MRT monorail system went into service on 21 November 2023. The line encompasses 30 stations along the route from Khae Rai to Minburi, and can accommodate 17,000 passengers per hour in each direction with 42 four-carriage trains in operation. The Pink Line acts as an effective secondary mass transit system, or feeder line, as five of the stations connect to Bangkok’s primary mass transit system providing convenient access to the following locations: s:
Shopping malls including Explanade Cineplex Namwongwan-Khae Rai, Central Chaeng Wattana, Central Ramintra, Fashion Island & The Promenade, and more.
Hospitals including Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital, Synphaet Hospital.
Popular attractions including Siam Amazing Park, Makut Rommayasaran Park, Peuan Deratchan Zoo, and Wat Phra Sri Mahathat Woramahawihan.
T&B Media Global (Thailand) has developed the Translucia Metaverse Project. Under the concept of an “Infinite Universe of Interconnected Metaverses”, the project is a connection between the real world and the virtual world, which allows various business sectors to create their own virtual worlds, offering three key advantages to users: 1. It creates positive results by allowing users the opportunity to create and develop businesses while also remaining environmentally friendly, 2. It is safe and users do not need to be concerned about data leaks, and 3. It bridges experiences between the real and virtual worlds. Building a business in the metaverse world comes from developing ideas from the digital world to connect seamlessly with the real world. Through creativity in designing experiences and activities to draw people into this virtual world, MICE organisers are able to get creative in evolving their events and meetings by applying virtual technology, allowing access to attendees from anywhere in the world, furthering growth, participation, and fun.