Mice pleads for help

Mice pleads for help

Groups push for eased restrictions

People listen to a presentation at Thailand Lab International, an exhibition.
People listen to a presentation at Thailand Lab International, an exhibition.

Four associations related to meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) submitted a proposal on Wednesday to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking the government to further relax measures for the industry and allow their businesses to resume by Oct 15.

"The associations hope the government will help further relax restrictions and allow Mice operators to resume their business in the final quarter this year," said Upatham Nisitsukcharoen, chairman of the Business of Creative and Event Management Association. He led executives of the Thai Exhibition Association, Thailand Incentive and Convention Association and Thai Hotels Association to submit their request to the government.

Mr Upatham said the pandemic and tight state restrictions the past 20 months have had a drastic impact on the Mice industry, leading many operators to lay off their workers or cease operations.

Domestic Mice revenue plunged 63.8% to 40.8 million baht from April to June this year, while income from domestic exhibitions was 26 million, down 74.7% year-on-year, according to the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau.

He said the fourth quarter is typically the high season for the Mice industry and government easing of restrictions would give the segment an opportunity to stay afloat and retain employees.

Mr Upatham said the Mice industry generated 500 billion baht in revenue in 2019 and employed 400,000 workers. It could produce a multiplier effect on the Thai economy and create jobs and income for related industries if it was given a lifeline, he said.

"The government allowed many businesses to reopen such as department stores, movie theatres, restaurants and other services. The Mice industry should be allowed to reopen as well," said Mr Upatham.

Mice operators have already prepared health and safety measures and are ready to resume business, he said.

Mr Upatham said the industry expects overseas markets may gradually improve by the first quarter next year at the earliest, as there are still many uncertainties, including health concerns, flight availability and limits on physical activities that make up new practices.

Business travellers differ from the leisure market in that they must comply with company decisions and budgets, with business trips cut at any time if risk increases, he said.

Long-haul Mice travellers from Europe will likely travel within the EU first as they await an economic recovery and avoid long journeys, said Mr Upatham.

Potential markets once business travel resumes are incentive groups from Russia and IT firms from Israel, he said.

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