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July 6, 2009

Thai meetings hit by political turmoil

Thailand has suffered million dollar losses in revenue from the meetings industry after a number of events due to be held in the country were cancelled over safety and security fears. The country has been embroiled in political turmoil this year and recent months saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets of Bangkok in violent demonstration.


The government has injected substantial funds to support a number of special promotional packages to boost the sector. The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has allocated a budget of more than US$5.9 million to the meetings industry and is launching a major PR offensive which it hopes will help pull in meetings industry revenues of US$1.2 billion by the end of the year. 


“TCEB has developed five strategies to quickly revive and promote Thailand’s meetings industry in 2009,” said Supawan Teerarat, exhibitions director and acting president of TCEB . “The strategies comprise an ambitious and integrated marketing plan, with a ‘Quick Win’ promotion for the inbound market. In addition, TCEB’s 360 degree communication strategy will help to stimulate the domestic conference market, including comprehensive crisis management measures.”


Teerarat admitted that the country’s unstable political situation had led a number of companies to pull out of holding events in Thailand.


“Thailand’s meeting industry has been impacted by the political situation,” she said. “In all there were seven cancellations, including the Bayer-Schering sales conference, IFRA Publish Asia 2009, and Glasstech Asia 2009. The cancellations meant Thailand lost over 11,580 visitors, which translates into US$ 27.8 million in lost revenues.”


She added that TCEB expected to see a drop in meetings and events visitors to Thailand of 20 to 30 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.


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