By Ian Neubauer
Thailand’s share of the MICE market is under threat following the killing of a man and mass street protests in Bangkok that led to the imposition of a state of emergency in the capital on Tuesday (September 4).
An anti-government sit in that this week turned violent and protests that disrupted flights leaving the island of Phuket have tarnished the reputation of the relatively peaceful Southeast Asian nation in the eyes of travelers and investors.
Chaophya Park Hotel & Resorts general manager, Andrew Wood, told BTN News the state of unrest has resulted in MICE bookings being cancelled.
“The question of whether five or more people can meet under the emergency decree will wipe out the conference market,” he said. “It will be bad news if it is enforced.”
Wood said three domestic groups had already cancelled and the group was receiving new cancellations from Japanese clients. He said occupancy at Chaophya’s Bangkok property was down to 55 per cent and could drop as low as 40 per cent if the situation does not improve.
The unrest will likely negate the achievements of a global road show launched by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) earlier this year to showcase the country’s unique natural attractions and the great value it offers as a MICE destination.
It also puts into question the viability of the upcoming Incentive Travel & Conventions Meeting Asia — an MICE trade show held annually in Bangkok in October that last year attracted more than 1500 delegates from 39 counties.