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August 20, 2015

Following Attacks, Bangkok Sees Few Event Cancelations

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Following this week's bombing, IMR partner TTG Asia is reporting that Bangkok is "calm," but notes that "turbulence reigns in the minds of industry members." Understandably, the attack–the first directly aimed at tourists–may cause tourism to decline.

“The real danger to the Thailand travel industry is the MICE sector,” James Reed, CEO/group managing director of Destination Asia, told the site. “Our MICE clientele is 85 percent Fortune 500 corporations or top 50 companies in the U.S., the UK, continental Europe, Australia and ASEAN, and this is a very sensitive market segment as the participants are the corporations’ best sales executives. Few corporations will take the risk of sending their best employees to an incentive or corporate meeting if there is any possibility of a terrorist attack.”

Reed expects the immediate reaction to be not only cancellations of MICE programmes, but no new RFPs for corporate events in the future. “The effect of a terrorist attack can linger for up to 12 months, if not longer, and in my career I have seen many similar ‘risk/go or no go’ scenarios.”

Travel operators in Thailand are not reporting significant cancellations or postponement of inbound visitors after the bombing.

“We have received very few cancellations. To be exact we have received 12; this is less than one percent of the bookings we have here till the end of the month,” Laurent Kuenzle, CEO of Asian Trails told TTG Asia e-Daily and TTGmice e-Weekly. “I do expect some cancellations over the next few days,” he added.

“Very, very few” clients have changed their plans, Kuenzle said, elaborating that those who altered their Thailand plans have opted to head to the beaches in the south or mountains in the north.

This pattern of transferring to nearby destinations was also confirmed by Hans van den Born, managing director of Diethelm Travel Thailand. "At this stage, the impact has been very small and limited only to one MICE event and a couple of re-routings of bookings to avoid Bangkok.

IMR Partner MeetPie, however, is reporting that Creative Cloud Events, part of computer software company Adobe, has postponed its Create Now 2015 - Bangkok event because of the 'volatile' local situation. In a short statement on its website, the company said the Create Now event, which was scheduled to kick off today, would be postponed until further notice.

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