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Myanmar to lure Mice to Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Myanmar to lure Mice to Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The emergence of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the opening-up of neighboring Burma will generate more high-yield visitors for Phuket and Thailand in general, delegates attending a recent tourism industry conference were told.

Emerging opportunities, as well as accompanying challenges, were the primary topics of discussion at the first Thailand MICE International Forum (TMIF) held in Bangkok on June 21.

For the layman, the term “MICE” is a popular tourism-industry acronym derived from Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions, an important segment of the overall tourism market.

The MICE industry is one of the fastest growing segments within the tourism industry, generating millions in revenues for cities and countries. It is the most important component of Thailand’s visitor mix because of the high-spending visitors it generates, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

According to Sumate Sudasna, who heads the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association, foreign MICE arrivals to Thailand totaled 820,224 in 2011, while domestic MICE visitors totaled 1.9 million arrivals. The TAT is projecting a 10% increase in overall arrivals for 2012.

Thai Exhibition Association President Pravit Sribanditmongkol told the gathering that Thailand’s exhibition sector has been growing from strength to strength.

“With world-class exhibition and convention centers in Bangkok and other major cities in Thailand, as well as international-standard professional service providers, we are certain that Thailand will be one of the most promising gateways for exhibition industry professionals to expand into ASEAN and other parts of Asia,” he said.

Edward Liu, President of the Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations, told attendees:

“The conglomeration of ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 is foreseen to attract more events to ASEAN. European organizers are launching more mergers and acquisitions of local organizers as well as replicating some of their own events in ASEAN, with Thailand being among their most-favored markets.”

Mr Liu noted that Thailand also has a major demographic and industrial advantage, excellent infrastructure, competitive costs and excellent service standards. It also has a high level of expertise in organizing industry-specific exhibitions such as those catering to the tourism, energy, agriculture and automotive sectors.

Mr M. Gandhi, of exhibition multinational UBM Asia [Thailand], said that the opening of Burma would also see more businesses from that country coming to attend exhibitions in Thailand, both as buyers and sellers.

Burma lacked both the hardware and software to develop its MICE industry, and thus would need to rely on help from neighbors, such as Thailand, for many years into the future, he said.

Delegates highlighted Thailand’s numerous advantages, including the transportation links of the Asian Highway network that will criss-cross through Thailand, linking Singapore and Malaysia to Laos, and Vietnam to Burms, according to a TAT release.

Despite two decades of talk and numerous studies, Phuket still does not have a world -class conference and exhibition center.

The latest effort, to build a 2.6-billion-baht center in Mai Khao, is still on hold. Its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was rejected by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) last year on both economic and environmental grounds.

The largest MICE event ever held in Phuket took place earlier this year, when 18,000 delegates from AMWAY China were hosted by the Laguna Phuket resort complex in Cherng Talay. The delegates came in waves throughout April, pumping an estimated 2.5 million baht into the local economy.

Additional reporting by News Editor Stephen Fein.

— Tourism Authority of Thailand

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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