Mice market set to beat expectations
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Mice market set to beat expectations

Visitors make their way around the Thaifex-Anuga Asia 2024 exhibition held earlier this month at Impact Muang Thong Thani. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Visitors make their way around the Thaifex-Anuga Asia 2024 exhibition held earlier this month at Impact Muang Thong Thani. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

International visitors are expected to drive the Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segment in Thailand to exceed the target by 5% this year, which would help compensate for the sluggish domestic market.

Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, president of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), said the international market recovered strongly during the first three quarters of the 2024 fiscal year, which runs from October 2023 to June 2024, with 894,584 Mice arrivals generating almost 53 billion baht.

He said the nine-month performance in the international market had already exceeded the target for this year of 636,694 travellers generating 36.7 billion baht and it continues to create momentum for 2025, when TCEB aims to see a full resumption of the market with 92 billion baht revenue from 1.4 million international visitors, based on the best-case scenario.

However, the domestic market struggled during the nine-month period, recording 17 million travellers, generating around 56.7 billion baht, falling well short of the target of 22.2 million travellers generating 73 billion baht in revenue.

By the end of the current fiscal year, the strong international market would help push overall Mice revenue to 136 billion baht, thanks to several remaining events which would gather more than 1,000 participants per event.

Between July and September, there are several significant events set to take place in Thailand such as the IUPAC International Conference on Chemistry Education in Pattaya, the Bangkok International Digital Content Festival 2024, and the Thailand International LGBTQ+ Film & TV Festival 2024 in Bangkok.

Despite sluggish economic growth, travellers from China remained the top market in four categories during the first six months of the 2024 fiscal year, said Mr Chiruit.

Of 196,538 Chinese Mice travellers who visited Thailand during this period, meeting groups made up the largest proportion with 62,114 travellers, followed by incentive groups (57,905), exhibitions (48,410) and conventions (28,109).

Indians ranked second, followed by Malaysians in third place, Singaporeans in fourth place and Germans in fifth.

Mr Chiruit said more Chinese exhibitors have ventured into Southeast Asia to seek new business opportunities overseas amid sluggish domestic consumption in China.

He said trade exhibitions in Thailand had experienced a growing number of Chinese pavilions, with local governments in China supporting their small- and medium-sized manufacturers to showcase their products in the Thai market.

On the government's plan to boost tourism revenue in 55 second-tier cities, Mr Chiruit said the policy is a good initiative, but not all of the cities have the capabilities required to accommodate the Mice market, which typically requires better services and standards than leisure markets.

"If the government wants to organise large-scale events in second-tier provinces, it might not be appropriate due to the limitations on standardised supply. Those destinations are more suitable for purposive incentives and meetings, such as those looking for CSR or ESG activities," he said.

According to TCEB's survey, there are only nine potential provinces for the Mice segment: Chiang Rai, Sukhothai, Buri Ram, Ubon Ratchathani, Kanchanaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Given that the government is considering allowing casinos to operate legally within entertainment complexes, Mr Chiruit said several established destinations worldwide had successfully adopted this approach, citing Las Vegas and Macau.

However, he said the Mice market in Thailand could still continue to grow, even without casinos.

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