Mice revival on hold as events postponed
Recovery of the exhibitions industry faces a delay as international Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) events have been postponed until the second half of this year.
Even though the country's reopening via Test & Go will resume in February, international exhibitions will not see a quick turnaround as organisers need at least six months to prepare, said Pravit Sribanditmongkol, president of the Thai Exhibition Association.
International Mice events, particularly business-to-business exhibitions in the first quarter of this year, have been postponed until the second and third quarters due to the volatile Covid-19 situation.
Mr Pravit said local organisers had decided to postpone events since before the emergence of the Omicron variant to avoid being impacted by the government's restrictions on mass gatherings.
He said prospects for the second half should be better as travel restrictions in most parts of the world are expected to be relaxed, including in China, where the government may consider allowing its citizens to take business trips overseas.
However, the number of domestic exhibitions might match the pre-pandemic level this year as operators have to accelerate their events to generate income.
"Operators would like the government not to ban meetings and exhibitions as we have already implemented stringent measures to ensure high safety," Mr Pravit said.
He said that while exhibitions hosted by private organisers do not allow eating, some exhibitions hosted by state agencies skip this rule, which raises infection risks.
Supawan Teerarat, senior vice- president at the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), said event organisers today also faced difficulties from many laws and regulations related to Mice events.
TCEB has introduced a web-based one-stop service centre to prepare both Thai and foreign stakeholders' businesses for the international market.
The new platform offers solutions under the key area of services, including imports, logistics and taxes, as well as entry and working procedures such as visa applications, immigration procedures and work permits.
Thailand Mice One Stop Service has gained cooperation from 18 related agencies, such as the Department of Disease Control, Airports of Thailand, the Department of Foreign Trade, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Department of Industrial Works.
Mrs Supawan said the first phase of the platform will focus on S-curve industries, before expanding to other sectors such as gems and jewellery.