BANGKOK - Thailand's fast growing business travel sector is expected to get a further push from the Thai Government's "Thailand 4.0" development strategy and the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) which will see investment in a major airport expansion and other infrastructures.
The Eastern Economic Corridor plan announced this year by the Thai Government covers three provinces east of Bangkok, namely Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao, and is expected to see combined public and private investment of over 1.5 trillion Thai Baht (USD 43 Billion) in the first 5 years of the project's implementation.
"Along the path to realize the success of many Thailand 4.0 development goals, there are plentiful opportunities for meeting, convention and trade exhibition to play a supporting role," said Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), a public organization tasked with promoting the country's meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry.
He was speaking at a seminar titled "Eastern Economic Corridor: Fast track to Thailand 4.0?" which TCEB hosted recently in Bangkok to serve as a platform of exchange between the Thai and foreign business communities. Thailand reached the one million mark of foreign business travelers for the first time last year.
"Investment is good for our industry. All these infrastructures, airport, seaport, rails and roads. Those are major requirements for exhibitions to bring the country to a higher level in competing with other countries," said Mr. Talun Theng, President, Thai Exhibition Association.
"The EEC is a strategy to implement the Thailand 4.0 vision in a right direction," according to Dr. Somkiat Tangkitvanich, President, Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). "The success of the EEC should be measured by the increase in technological capabilities of the country."
According to TDRI, U-Tapao, the Bangkok area's third international airport, with a planned investment of 200 billion baht (USD5.7 billion), is the "Cornerstone of EEC" and is attracting global players thanks to its location advantage. A second runway and two new terminals will be added to the airport, making Thailand become a regional hub, and allowing the development of a strong aviation maintenance repair and overall (MRO) industry.
Private investment in the EEC area will enjoy special incentives, such as tax privileges, long-term land lease, and fast-tracked administrative procedures.
Photo caption: Mr Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).