Thailand’s tasty revival: Spending spree at food shows signals economic upswing for MICE sector

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A surge in spending at food and packaging trade shows indicates a revival in the economy and a favourable trend for business tourism this year. Thailand remains a favoured location for the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) sector, according to Informa Markets Thailand, a leading trade show organiser.

Kotchasorn Tocharoentanapol, the Deputy Event Director at Informa Markets Thailand, noted consistent growth in the manufacturing industry, driven by the improving global trade conditions and interest rate freezes announced by numerous central banks worldwide. The promising prospects of the tourism industry in Thailand have also boosted investment sentiment.

Kotchasorn emphasised that Thailand’s appealing cultural attractions, tourist destinations, and affordable cost of living continue to attract exhibitors and business tourists, with many opting to extend their stay post-meetings. High-growth products from the country include frozen fruits, frozen chicken, and seafood.

The positive sentiment is expected to materialise at the forthcoming processing and packaging trade show, ProPak Asia 2024. The event is projected to generate transactions worth 4.5 billion baht (US$125 million), reflecting a 10% growth from the previous year.

Scheduled from June 12-15 at Bitec Bangna, the show will span over 60,000 square metres. It will host more than 2,000 brands and companies from Thailand, Asia, Europe, and North America, with a target of 60,000 attendees, reported Bangkok Post.

Kotchasorn highlighted that Chinese companies, recognised for their advanced processing technology, are anticipated to be among the top three overseas exhibitors at the event. She attributed this expectation to the pent-up demand for business travel following a three-year pandemic lockdown, coupled with the Chinese government’s support to operators for business discussions and product expansion abroad.

Targeting 70% Thai buyers, the event will also draw attendees from Southeast Asia and high-potential Asian countries like Japan and South Korea. Local small and medium-sized enterprises and startups are also expected to attend, driven by their interest in investing in new manufacturing products and technology.

However, Kotchasorn expressed concern about high airfares potentially slowing down overseas business trips. She suggested that some might prefer online meetings, but assured that both in-person sessions and online conferences would be accommodated to meet the increasing demand.

The show will also feature environmentally friendly products and sustainable technology, aligning with the global net zero trend. ProPak Asia is one of the largest exhibitions organised by Informa Markets.

In related news, TCEB aimed to attract 23.1 million MICE visitors by 2024, targeting 75% of 2019’s income. Despite global economic challenges, Thailand’s MICE industry saw a steady recovery with positive trends.

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Alex Morgan

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