Mall Group chair shares 'playground of Asia' vision
Supaluch calls on state to lift barriers
Supaluck Umpujh, chairwoman of The Mall Group, which operates The Mall, The Emporium and Paragon Department Store, is calling on the government's support to develop Thailand into the playground of Asia.
Speaking on Monday at the eighth edition of the Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF 2019), the country's largest annual hospitality event, Ms Supaluck said Thailand has the full potential to be developed into the playground of Asia if there is proper entertainment for the family.
"The government should stop limiting the service hours of nightlife and other entertainments," she said. "Moreover, the country has to create new attractions to draw more tourists."
She urged the government to also support investors in terms of tax incentives or other stimuli to lure investors to build new tourist attractions in the country.
Ms Supaluck said that The Mall Group, as one of Thailand's leading retail and entertainment complex developers, has aligned itself with the governmental policy of elevating Thailand as a commercial business hub and a global tourist destination, complete with business districts, tourist attractions and modern entertainment centres.
The Mall Group recently announced a landmark strategic partnership with AEG, one of the world's biggest sports and live entertainment companies, to develop arenas in Bangkok at an investment cost of 10 billion baht.
Two joint venture companies -- The Em Live Co and Bangkok Arena -- have been set up, with The Mall Group controlling a two-thirds stake and AEG one-third in each.
The Em Live Co will handle development of the Em Live arena at The EmSphere near The Emporium, while Bangkok Arena will manage Bangkok Arena at Bangkok Mall on Bang Na-Trat Road, opposite Bitec.
AEG will be responsible for the management and operation of the two arenas, as well as working collaboratively with The Mall Group and its allies to offer and market a wide range of events, including entertainment, live performances, sports, exhibitions, and arts and cultural events.
A budget of 10 billion baht will be allocated to build all entertainment facilities at The EmSphere and Bangkok Mall. Of the total, 6.5 billion baht will be used to build Bangkok Arena, with 3 billion baht for Em Live and the remaining funds allocated to other entertainment facilities.
Em Live at The EmSphere will be built to accommodate 6,000 people and is scheduled to open in 2021.
Bangkok Arena at Bangkok Mall is set to open in 2022, with a capacity of 16,000 people.
According to Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks and co-organiser of TTF 2019, the forum comes at a critical crossroads for Thailand's tourism industry.
He cited continuously soaring growth rates as proof that the country needs to evolve and expand its tourism infrastructure to cope with rising demand.
TTF 2019 focused on key developments taking place in Thailand, while looking ahead to the future and discussing how Thailand's tourism industry should be managed to ensure its long-term success.