Mrs. Supawan Teerarat, Senior Vice President of Thailand Conference & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) talks at TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific regarding Thailand's MICE capabilities and innovation.
- What is your strategy or highlight project that will support sandbox programme and the country reopening policy?
We are focusing on MICE Lane Service or fast track lane to facilitate MICE travellers. Apart from the existing service at Suvarnabhumi Airport, we are expanding to Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok and, on an adhoc basis, to Phuket International Airport and Chiang Mai International Airport. To help overseas clients find Thai partners in organising events or related services, we have launched Thai MICE Connect, which is a platform compiling a list of over 10,000 businesses in MICE industry who are operating with safety and hygiene standard. To offer refreshing ideas of MICE events, the platform features 10 Creative MICE Routes. They are all newly-developed by DMCs in collaboration with TCEB, which we believe will create extraordinary meeting and incentive experiences for MICE travellers.
In response to requirements for safety events, our MICE Winnovation project offers “Contactless Voucher” and “Smart Venue” programs. The voucher is to support the use of crowd management technology, AI & robotics and health and wellness. The "Smart Venue" program will encourage the use of innovative technology and hygiene solution in convention centres and MICE venues. Under this project, overseas clients can explore and select tech solution partners listed in “MICE Innovation Catalog”, a directory of 70 innovative solutions in 10 categories aimed for both pre- and post-event management.
- What are your key capability initiatives in 2022 and beyond?
The focal point is to develop and prepare new destinations for hosting MICE events, up until now we have appointed a total of 10 MICE Cities, namely Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok in the North, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast, Bangkok in the central region, Pattaya in the East, and Phuket, Surat Thani and Songkla in the South. The second-tiered cities in Thailand are also full of potential. Our list is Chiang Rai in the North, Nakhon Srithammarat in the South, Ayutthaya in the central region and Buriram in the Northeast. A key part of their capability enhancement is to develop their local MICE products, design local MICE routes for new experiences as we believe each of the destinations has its own characteristics and attractiveness.
Venue standard has been our prime importance. We will leverage Thailand MICE Venue Standard or TMVS and ASEAN MICE Venue Standard or AMVS to ensure that TMVS or AMVS certified venues in Thailand can deliver services with hygiene, safety and sustainability. It is a result of the pandemic that urged us to initiate “2HY” (Hygiene and Hybrid) to uplift the calibre of venues in Thailand together with the up-skill of Thai MICE workforce in technologies and innovation so that they can serve the shifting needs of clients. Furthermore, we aim high at manpower at a regional level. TCEB is working with the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and we are selected to serve as Co-Lead countries with Indonesia to develop MICE professionals under the umbrella of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement of Tourism Professionals (ASEAN MRA-TP). Our role will secure MICE profession and encourage the free flow of MICE professionals to work across ASEAN. In this regard, TCEB will lead the development of professionals in events and incentive travel.
Of important note is we are now gearing up the development of MICE operators’ capability in calculating and reducing the carbon footprint of their events in response to TCEB’s policy to minimize the carbon footprint of both TCEB-supported events and TCEB’s own events. As a government agency, TCEB is executing the BGC economic model of the Thai government and is, in fact, extending its previous initiatives in green meetings and sustainability. Towards this end, we work with Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) to calculate the carbon footprint in order to offset the emission and achieve zero neutral for all MICE events. We have practical guidelines for sustainable events, endorsed by UN, and also the calculation platform of TGO and undertaken training of MICE workforce in the calculation. We believe this sustainable initiative is responsive to the global calls and will elevate the standard and professionalism of Thai MICE industry, making sustainability one of our key trademarks.
- What are the expected results of your key capability initiatives in 2022 and beyond?
Looking ahead, TCEB is gearing up to engage more with the standard of special event venues in Thailand so that they become TMVS and AMVS certified. The assessment of such venues will start in 2022 to capitalize on the opportunities brought about by the rise of the Festival Economy and mega-event trends that we have been introducing to more potential city destinations across the country, raising the demands and requirements of special event venues.
TCEB will promote 2HY partnership campaign to propel the growth and attract business events where experience design for a new normal landscape will become the norm. The campaign will result in more pairs between MICE entrepreneurs and tech entrepreneurs in event management. We target at least 50 partnerships between TMVS venues and MICE technology providers.
TCEB is committing to 100,000 KgCO2e reduction of carbon emission from events in 2022. We need partnership to achieve the target. The capability development in carbon footprint will be inclusive of TCEB, venues, organisers, MICE-related service providers, stakeholders in both public and private sectors. The activities in this particular area will make a strong presence in 2022. We expect that Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit which Thailand will be hosting in November 2022 will be our prime example.
On professional standard, as said, we have been assigned a role to develop competency standard of events and incentive travel professionals in ASEAN, we plan to complete 20 out of the 31 new competency standards by working with one focus group (brainstorming and academic group meeting) and one national workshop (participants from co-lead countries). The others (11) shall be completed in 2022 through regional workshops.
The operation of a one-stop service centre will also be our key target in 2022. We realise that facilitation is the main key to promoting MICE destinations and, hence, collaboration with all relevant government sectors to create an ecosystem for Ease of Doing Business for MICE.
We have established a Government Coordination Committee to facilitate trade and service for MICE business. The committee comprising of relevant government agencies plays an important role in the facilitation without amending laws and regulations. We are now working on launching a digital platform of OSSC – One-Stop Service Center for MICE, which will provide comprehensive information related to relevant laws and regulations and user-friendly processing form. The OSSC for MICE will be ready for operation in the mid of January 2022.
- How do you plan to promote and support technology to benefit the industry that has been faced with the impacts of the changing landscape, such as hybrid or virtual?
With the goal to drive innovation development, TCEB has supported innovative technology solutions for 26 events this year under “MICE Winnovation” project. We take a step further. MICE Intelligence & Innovation Department of TCEB has now taken initiatives for Thai MICE entrepreneurs to be future-proof in case of changes and any disruption that may occur. Our focus is contactless solutions. We begin to incubate them on the use of technology through a digital literacy program and will continue business-matching events between MICE entrepreneurs and tech entrepreneurs so that innovative solutions for event management can be adopted and adapted. We expect more events in Thailand to become more and more tech-savvy after our success with 150 business matching when we first launched the project at the beginning of this year.