Index sees up to 100,000 job losses

Index sees up to 100,000 job losses

Pro-democracy protesters gather at Victory Monument on Wednesday. Escalating political tensions have event businesses fretting about sentiment. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Pro-democracy protesters gather at Victory Monument on Wednesday. Escalating political tensions have event businesses fretting about sentiment. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

SET-listed event and marketing services firm Index Creative Village Plc expects as many as 100,000 employees in the sector to lose their jobs because of the pandemic and ongoing anti-government demonstrations.

Kreingkrai Kanjanapokin, the company's founder and chief executive, said the event business has been battered by the pandemic since the government's lockdown measures on March 22.

"We earlier projected the event sector's revenues would fall by 60-70% this year because most companies cancelled their events, in line with social distancing measures and concerns over a possible second wave," he said.

"But with escalating protests, the contraction may exceed that level. The protests have made the situation worse. They affect consumer sentiment and psychology, while marketers have baulked at launching events to promote their products."

Facing such prospects, Mr Kreingkrai said the level of unemployment in the event sector is likely to become more severe, with more than 50% of all employees expected to lose their jobs, both temporarily and permanently.

The event industry excluding meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) now employs about 200,000 workers.

The first quarter and the fourth quarter are normally the two peak seasons for Index's customers (marketers), which spend heavily on their events to spur a spending spree.

A full 70% of revenue in the event marketing business comes from these two quarters, which comprise several big seasonal and traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year, Loy Krathong festival, Halloween, Christmas and New Year seasons.

"The impact we've been suffering this year is no different from that during the 1997 Asian financial crisis," he said.

"Excluding the ongoing protests, the pandemic alone caused the event business to plunge by 60%."

Mr Kreingkrai said Index projects revenue to contract by 68% to 469 million baht, the same level as 2004.

The event marketing services total about 14 billion baht per year.

"We have to restart our business by transforming ourselves in new sectors, focusing on health and wellness via a collaboration strategy," he said.

The company has diversified to sanitiser and cleaning services by launching "Kill & Klean" premium disinfection service and technology brand to the market in March.

This service has expanded via the franchise system in six countries.

In addition, the company in September launched Anya Meditec, a healthcare service.

Moreover, Index aims to create its own event projects related to tourism in second tier provinces such as Chiang Rai next year to boost its revenue.

By pursuing these strategies, the company's revenue contribution from its own projects in 2021 is expected to rise to 25-30%, up from 10% this year, with the rest coming from marketing and other services.

In a recent development, the company partnered with Central Department Store, Epson and Oppo to open "House of Illumination" at Central Gallery on the 8th floor of CentralWorld.

The company expects the House of Illumination will help stimulate the tourism business locally, becoming a new Bangkok destination for foreign tourists.

The show will run from Oct 28, 2020 until October 2022.

Index expects to draw 800,000 visitors during the two-year event, luring some 300 million baht in income.

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