TCEB and partners advance plan to tap MICE travellers on 3-nation R3A route

TCEB and partners advance plan to tap MICE travellers on 3-nation R3A route

The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is advancing its collaborations with related parties to turn Thailand into a hub for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).

TCEB, along with the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), the Mekong Economic Development Cooperation Institute, the Greater Mekong Sub-region Transport Association (GMS-FRETA) Thailand and Naresuan University, have come together again to forge the agenda ahead.  They met in full force at the GMS Logistic, Tourism, MICE & Trade Forum 2021 symposium held on 27-28 December 2021 at the Pullman Hotel King Power in Bangkok for the mission.

Staged for the fourth consecutive year, this year's symposium focussed on driving cooperation on the R3A road linkage among Thailand, Laos PDR and China to spur multilateral trade and investment. Business matching sessions were also held, emphasising accommodating MICE travellers emerging following the inauguration of China-Lao PDR rapid train service on 2 December 2021, said Supawan Teerarat, Senior Vice President - MICE Capability and Innovation, at TCEB.

The R3A linkage (aka North-South Economic Corridor under the Greater Mekong Sub-region cooperation framework) seeks to connect Kunming in Yunnan Province of China and Bangkok across China, Laos PDR and Thailand by land, to support the strategic development of the logistics system of the Mekong Sub-region. The connection constitutes a macro-economic integration in economic, tourism and cultural exchange including MICE activities. It offers a great opportunity for Thailand to draw travellers from southern China by train, car and boat to the North and Northeast of Thailand.

"This is a pathway of opportunity and a future route to serve travellers and MICE traffic from local and international markets under the 1-Marketing 3-Destination concept," said Ms Supawan.  She added that TCEB's promotion of MICE activities on the R3A route in 2022 will zero in on working with partners to prepare a framework for tourism and MICE cooperation along the R3A route for use as an action plan.  This framework will lead to further extensions and create added value for trade and investment for industries and services in the area through sponsored exhibitions of the industry and outstanding services in the area.

TCEB's sponsorship includes supporting the journeys of MICE business persons from three countries on the R3A route, promoting awareness of new products and services on the R3A route through familiarisation trips to present and expand creative ideas.

This will be carried out based on the elements of 'Thailand 7-MICE Magnificent Theme' to promote community development and tourist attractions along the road linking the three countries.   It will also include promoting opportunities for business matching and connecting MICE entrepreneurs of the three countries even more with MICE Business Road Show R3A activities.  In addition, TCEB will encourage the private sector and other groups to come together and bid for the hosting rights of international meetings and conferences in the area as well.

ATTA President Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn noted it remains to be seen when a big market like China will re-open its doors in 2022.   In his conversations with relevant agencies in China, he said it is quite clear that the country will continue to pursue the 'Zero Covid' policy to minimise the risks of coronavirus spread.  However, it is believed that the overall picture of the Thai tourism industry in 2022 would be better than in 2021, thanks to the easing of travel restrictions in the kingdom.  He said this is high time for entrepreneurs to gear up to welcome travellers on the R3A route because once China opens up they need to be ready to receive a wave of Chinese travellers.  "Of course, there will be a great number of tourists using this route to come to Thailand," he added.

It is an important pathway for the exports, especially agricultural products and tourism sector for the three countries. It is a connection point to the north-eastern region of Thailand, from Vientiane to Nong Khai Province, via the train between the two cities. The road is vital for the imports and exports between Thailand and China. Major shipments include vegetables, fresh fruits, chilled-frozen fruits, processed fruits, spices, herbs and consumer products.

Another role of the R3A is that it acts as a cultural and tourism connection path, providing Thailand with an opportunity to receive tourists from southern China.

Furthermore, the route serves as an avenue for investment in various businesses, especially around the Golden Triangle, and provides added opportunities to extend tourist flows from Nong Khai Province to Bangkok and Pattaya and onwards to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) development zone. This will increase opportunities for trading, investing and activities, such as attending business meetings and conferences, which means a huge amount of money from travellers' spending

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