THAILAND (eTN) – The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (public organization) or TCEB is gearing up to boost Chiang Mai’s MICE industry, dovetailing with its “Year of MICE 2013” campaign to promote MICE activities. The campaign will kick off with a “Meetings Industry Day” to prepare Chiang Mai to participate fully in the Year of MICE 2013 campaign. TCEB is leading a group of more than 80 MICE operators to visit the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre to assess its potential and capabilities. The group will submit its recommendations as part of the consultative process in developing the city’s MICE Industry Master Plan 2012-2016. The Master Plan will be followed by a full-scale marketing program to establish Chiang Mai as a world-class MICE City.
In early 2012, a joint public-private sector consultative committee to address the region’s economic problems, convened by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board submitted its proposals to the Cabinet, which declared the year 2013 as the “Year of MICE, Chiang Mai Province.” Accordingly, TCEB organized a range of activities to boost the province’s MICE business, as follows:
1) An Event “Meetings Industry Day” was held for the first time in the province, to share MICE industry knowledge and understanding among MICE operators throughout Chiang Mai Province;
2) A visit was organized for more than 80 private sector operators to the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, in order to develop recommendations for consideration in strategic planning to attract more events and boost the province’s MICE industry; and
3) TCEB supported the process of drafting the Chiang Mai MICE Development Master Plan with the aim of upgrading the sector to international standards, in coordination with the province’s Office of Tourism and Sports and Chiang Mai Province.
“The Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre has been certified by the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) in its report on Asia’s Trade Fair industry, 8th Edition, 2012, as one of the country’s 9 venues that meet international standards. With an exhibition floor space of 10,000 square meters and the largest convention and exhibition venue in Thailand, the complex is located on 335 rai (134 acres) of land, only 14 km from Chiang Mai International Airport, and close to hotels in the city itself. The complex is, therefore, ideally situated to host world-class international MICE events,” added Mr. Thongchai.
The draft MICE Industry Master Plan for Chiang Mai 2012-2016 emerged as the outcome of a multi-stakeholder workshop held on November 11, 2011. The plan proposes four areas of strategic importance:
1) strategic management;
2) improvement of facilities and infrastructure;
3) upgrading of logistics system; and
4) HR development for MICE industry personnel.
TCEB fully supports the plan’s implementation, which will greatly benefit both Chiang Mai and Thailand as a whole. Key factors that will help fulfill Chiang Mai’s potential as a MICE city include its diversity of cultural attractions, natural beauty, and especially its many opportunities for eco-tourism. Also, the city is a popular destination for meetings, incentive trips, and international conferences themed around cultural, nature-oriented, and health tourism. Looking forward, the city also has major potential within the GMS, BIMSTEC, and ASEAN countries (AEC). For the international trade fair industry, completion of the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre will provide a tremendous boost to Chiang Mai’s exhibition and trade fair industry. In particular, the province’s world-renowned traditional handicrafts industry will receive a major boost.
So that Chiang Mai can fulfill its potential as a “MICE city” under the Master Plan, the city has developed an action plan and revised its operating procedures. A number of activities and programs are already under way, including a feasibility study into establishing a TCEB branch in Chiang Mai, a framework for MICE collaboration in the GMS/BIMSTEC countries, a project to prepare Chiang Mai’s MICE industry for the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, upgrading of the city’s mass transit system, and efficiency improvement projects such as streamlined clearance procedures under the Customs, Immigration, Quarantine, and Security (CIQS) agreement at Chiang Mai International Airport. Moreover, a project to construct a MICE industry database for Chiang Mai Province has been initiated, along with a campaign to establish Chiang Mai’s image as a MICE city in the global arena (Chiang Mai International Branding). Further, a project to develop industry standards for MICE operators in Chiang Mai, and a plan to establish a Chiang Mai MICE industry cluster are also under development.
In 2013, TCEB will also invite buyers and media from all over the world to visit Chiang Mai so they may experience first-hand the city’s development and MICE potential, and also to create a platform for local businesses to meet international buyers and create new business partnerships.