TCEB urges loosening of restrictions on big gatherings
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is asking the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to ease restrictions on meetings and exhibitions to reignite the economy, as the bureau plans to hold job fairs across the nation to reduce unemployment.
Under the third phase of coronavirus lockdown easing, meeting rooms, hotels and conference centres may hold meetings of up to 50 people each and participants must be from the same organisation or company.
Supawan Teerarat, the TCEB's senior vice-president for strategic business development and innovation, said the CCSA should allow different organisations to join the same meetings in hotels, and should also consider lifting the limitation on exhibition space from 20,000 square metres.
The area constraint prevents large venues in Bangkok such as Impact, Bitec and Samyan Mitrtown Hall from hosting big events for industries that are essential to the economy.
Mrs Supawan said exhibitions and conventions can only be held in provincial areas right now.
"If exhibition and convention venues larger than 20,000 square metres can host events, big activities such as the Bangkok International Motor Show, which has been postponed to July 13-26, can stay on schedule," she said.
There are 987 confirmed domestic and international Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) events in Thailand that the TCEB plans to support from June 2020 to March 2021.
The first five months of this year saw 29 events cancelled, causing a loss of up to 2 billion baht. Some 88 events were rescheduled to the end of the year.
Mrs Supawan said the TCEB is preparing to propose a stimulus package using the 400-billion-baht budget assigned to national economic rehabilitation.
The first priority is to drive the domestic Mice industry by encouraging companies to hold more events and host incentive trips in domestic destinations.
As soon as inbound travellers are allowed back into Thailand, the TCEB plans to organise roadshows in potential markets around the region such as China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.
Another plan is for the TCEB to host job fairs across Thailand to open up the job market in the Mice industry to new graduates, aiming to minimise unemployment in the country.
The TCEB estimates that the Mice industry in fiscal 2020 (October 2019-September 2020) will generate 166 billion baht, a year-on-year drop of 70.4%.
The number of international Mice travellers is expected to plunge by 50-60% from the pre-pandemic target of 1.1-1.2 million people.
Mrs Supawan said the TCEB is working with the Public Health Ministry to issue health and safety guidelines for convention and exhibition venues and provide assurance that mass gatherings will not risk exposure to the coronavirus.