Bangkok/Barcelona. Thailand is already beginning to recover from the recent floods that have impacted the country’s MICE industry. In order to ensure a strong and speedy recovery, the government is working closely with the private sector in implementing a cleanup plan, and aims to regain international confidence through TCEB’s market promotion campaign Believe in Thailand – Thailand: Destination of “CHOICES”. These measures are expected to see Thailand back on track before the third quarter of 2012.
Commenting on the impact of the flood situation on the MICE industry, Mr. Akapol Sorasuchart, President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) explained that “Overall, 24 MICE events have been affected, with revenue losses estimated at 3.32 billion Baht (Euro79 million) and MICE visitors down by over 250,000.
“However, Suvarnabhumi International Airport, the main gateway to Thailand, serving 120 international and domestic airlines, has considerable flood protection measures in place. The airport has operated on schedule throughout, handling 800 flights per day, including all connecting flights to tourist destinations throughout Thailand such as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Suratthani.”
Continuing, Mr. Akapol added that “It’s important to note that many scheduled events have been completely unaffected, for example the Asia Pacific Golf Summit 2011 (Pattaya, 31 October - 6 November), the Nokia Incentive Group (Pattaya, 13 November – 9 December), the Amway Group (Chiang Mai, 10–26 November), and the Daikin Group (Bangkok, 22-24 November). Looking forward to 2012, large-scale incentive events such as Amway China (15 April – 15 May 2012 – 15,000 visitors). All of these will go ahead as scheduled. In terms of convention events, the 2012 Rotary International Convention with around 30,000 visitors is also confirmed to be held during 6-9 May 2012.”
The floodshave mainly affected Thailand’s central provinces along the Chao Phraya River, while key MICE destinations in other regions, including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, HuaHin, Phuket and Had Yai have been completely unaffected. The international airports in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and other cities are operating normally. Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, which served only two commercial carriers, temporarily switched operations in late October to the country’s main international Airport Suvarnabhumi International Airport, which is unaffected by the floods and is operating normally.
Also unaffected are transportation links to and from the airport into central Bangkok including taxis, buses and the Airport Rail Link, which are all operating normally, as are the MRT and BTS mass transit systems. Highways from the airport to tourist destinations southeast of Bangkok such as Pattaya and Rayong are open. Travelers should however allow additional time to travel to the airport due to traffic congestion.